It’s been an interesting few weeks as the world has been panicking over the coronavirus. Although it’s tragic many people have become ill, and people have died; the reaction has been more than a little crazy. Financial markets have crashed, cities are shut down, lives have been turned upside down. The thing is, we’re all going to die anyway, it’s just a matter of dates. We all have an expiration date; we all wind up in a box. Why the terrified reaction to this one, extremely rare, risk?
When the panic started over the coronavirus, I told a friend of mine that we figured it would cost the orphanage I help run about $10,000. He was surprised and asked. “Why?” We depend on visiting short-term mission groups, and I knew many groups would cancel (we’ve had four groups cancel so far). We also know that some people would be distracted and stop sending donations. Mexico has only had a couple of cases of the virus, fewer than the US, but people don’t make rational decisions. The media-driven hype is not helping the situation. People hoarding toilet paper and bottled water is not rational, but very often, people are not rational.
A lot of people die every day, eventually we all hit room temperature. The odds of dying from this one virus are astronomically low. The number one killer in the US is heart disease, but most people aren’t afraid of fast food and lack of exercise. Obesity is slowly killing the majority of Americans. It’s not the coronavirus that’s killing people; it’s the burgers, fries, and corona beer that are the real killers. We tend to worry about the wrong stuff.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have complete boldness, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21
As Christians, we need to see the bigger picture. Death doesn’t matter. If we deeply believe what we claim to believe, this is only a temporary gig here on earth. We’re destined for something better, richer, and more profound than we can ever imagine. So why all the fear?
“Fear not” comes up a lot in the bible. Over and over again, we are instructed to trust in God, to turn away from fear, and rest in the peace that passes all understanding. Unfortunately, many Christians, and way too many churches, have embraced fear as a way of life. The world in general, and cable news specifically, encourages fear. We are not supposed to be of this world. Fear is the manifestation of a lack of trust. Fear is sin. Fear says, “God is not big enough for me, He doesn’t understand and can’t help.”
We serve a wonderful God; we also have a cunning enemy. Satan is perfectly happy with Christians being distracted and afraid of things that don’t matter, and he’s good at providing those distractions. So much of what we worry about, focus on, and spend our time talking about is trivial. We focus on things that don’t matter when there is a world around us where we need to be turning our attention. The true epidemic is human trafficking, child abuse, hunger, and countless other areas where we should be at battle. There are people suffering all around us, and too many people are worried about hand sanitizer, and if the church greeters should still shake hands with people. The enemy is fine distracting people with smoke and mirrors while we ignore the man behind the curtain doing the real damage.
I’m not advocating we ignore risk, it’s just important that we keep things in perspective. If we understand that we have a great advocate, a God who sees all knows all and is in control, we should be able to sleep at night. If we truly believe that God can use ALL things, what are we worried about?
Obviously, we shouldn’t place ourselves in harm’s way. Life is a precious gift that should be cherished. But we need to look at the things we worry about, and see if they really matter in the grand scheme of things. The only thing we should really be afraid of is being out of God’s will. “Fear not.” is pretty good advice.
Sharing this post on Facebook, or wherever you hang out online, helps more than you might know. Please pass this along if you think it will bless or help others. Thanks