Have you ever noticed that people fall into one of two extremes when some form of ‘calamity’ hits: They either Obsess about it and ‘freak out’, or they resort to Denial, and minimize the reality.
There are millions of people who will find it hard to sleep tonight, because of ‘what might be’. They will overreact, and will empty store shelves of things like Toilet Paper because of the ‘worst case scenario’ in their minds. They will not be able to find peace or rest, no matter what information is given to them.
There are others who will mock these people, and will go to the other extreme. They will call the entire thing a fabrication and suspect that there is a ‘politician’ (one on the opposite side from them) to blame. They will think it’s foolish, and will all blow over. They’ll make comments about ‘weak minded people’.
In response to this virus, I’ll say again–as I’ve said before, that since this is so new, we just don’t know what will happen. We know that it devastated some parts of China, but it seems to be easing there. We know that Italy is being slammed–hard–right now. We know that cases in the USA are increasing, and many organizations and governments are trying to contain it. We know that the vast majority of cases to date have been minor, and increasing numbers are recovering from it. We know that most of the serious cases are elderly or people with compromised immune systems. These are things we know.
What will become of it, we don’t know. Will it die out with warm weather? Will we come up with a treatment or vaccination? Will it begin to affect a wider age range? We don’t know. Therefore, governments react with an abundance of caution, and most people can understand that.
There is one response I want to put out there that many have not thought of.
I wonder about what God is wanting in all this.
Here’s the thing: I believe–as most Christians do–that God is Sovereign over the affairs of this world. I also believe that God is good, God is wise, God is powerful, and God is loving.
Therefore, when I look at all these events with that background, I think that God wants us to turn to Him! I believe that He is allowing these things to show us our need for Him. After all, we are powerless in the light of these challenges, are we not? Sure, we can quarantine, and we can try some things to address the other things, but ultimately, most events like this remind me that ‘I am not in control.’
So, what is my response?
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”
Jesus encouraged His followers,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
All of the things we worry about are things that can bring us to the best response possible: Turning toward our loving God!
THAT is the secret to Overcoming!
As we allow Him to have control and acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives, it changes my response.
Granted, it won’t change the reality I’m facing…but it will help me to see the ‘big picture’ and to trust Him.
As the Apostle Paul would remind us:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It should be noted that all of these comforting words were written to those who, by faith in Him, have given their lives to Him. The words of Jesus and Paul are written to Christian believers.
The loving, gracious God of the universe wants to give you peace in the midst of the tempest around us. Turn to Him…turn back to Him.
Trust Him and worship Him.
He will enable you to Overcome!