The old saying goes, ‘Trust the Lord and lock your doors.’ Maybe in today’s world we would say, ‘Trust the Lord and wash your hands.’ And while it is easy to say, it becomes increasing difficult to do when cruise ships are quarantined, news outlets are sounding the alarm with each new infection, countries are locked down, and stocks are dropping like flower pedals off spring trees. Our hands are dry and cracked from the weather and the washing. And more importantly our souls get weary from worry and negativity. If we choose to ignore the waves of worry, sometimes they pour in through the side door. We have friends or family members that are concerned about the situation. We question if we should be worried about our elderly loved ones, or our own health if we have vulnerabilities.
If this world and life is all there is, we have much to fear. If we catch the virus, especially for the elderly and vulnerable, there is a significant possibility that we could die. Our lives would be cut short, and they would have ended in premature tragedy. But if this world was made by a God of love, who promises to protect us, and through faith in the death of Christ, has given us eternal life, then this virus is small indeed. At the worst, it could end our life over the course of a few painful days, and hasten our entry into the presence of our wonderful Savior for eternity. If that comfort isn’t real in our mind and emotions, we likely have become too attached to the luxuries and blessings of this life. It is time for us to get on our knees and tell the Lord that we have allowed our hearts to love our three bedroom home, our wonderful grandchildren, our secret fishing spot, and our rich cabernet, more than the one who loaned us these things. It is time for us to reattach ourselves to our hearts true home, where we will finally get to experience these things without the taint of sin and death and fear.
In the early centuries of the Christian faith a great plague stampeded across Europe and the Roman Empire. It killed one out of four that were infected, and by the time it had run its course, over 5 million people had died. In many areas a third of the population lay dead. Can you imagine the fear that swirled around the population, like shower water rising at one’s ankles in a backed up bathtub? What do you think was the response of the small Christian population? Were they tempted to fear? Were they worried? Did they call out to God for help? They probably experienced all these things, but we know from historical records they chose to act with courage. Because they had a solid conviction in God’s forgiveness for them through Christ purchasing them eternal life, in compassion they marched toward the plague of death, rather than away from it. When all their neighbors were in panic, abandoning loved ones in their hour of need, the Christians went in to tend the sick. They buried the bodies of strangers that had been left on the streets to the dogs. They weren’t afraid of illness. And many of them died. But they demonstrated their faith in a dark and scary moment. In the years afterward, millions of Roman citizens became followers of Jesus. And one of the reasons they gave for turning to Christ, was the profound kindness and courage demonstrated by Christians during the dark days of the epidemic.
Be encouraged. Dark days are an opportunity for us to demonstrate faith. And remember, “Trust the Lord. And wash your hands.”
May the Lord grant us protection and courage in the face of the coronavirus, especially among the elderly, the vulnerable and their medical providers. Grant wisdom to all national and medical leaders, that they may know the best course forward to contain the disease. And may even this be used to draw us deeper in our faith, and to show forth the confidence we have in the Gospel, through Christ. Amen.
Together in the Journey,
Fr. Cam Lemons