My emotions are having a hard time processing the Coronavirus stats. My breath stops every night when I turn on the evening news. Yesterday, another 743 people in Italy died. 514 in Spain. 163 in the U.S. Supposedly the virus will peak in the next 14 to 21 days here in the U.S. My country is a giant hospital right now. Most of us are in the waiting room, bracing ourselves for what is yet to come.
Let me just say, as a Christian, I am afraid, too. I am afraid of what I will see happen over the next two to four weeks, and then over the next two to four years. I am afraid of what this war will cost us. I haven’t lost anyone I know or love, but nothing guarantees that I won’t. Shortage has seemed the global theme—not enough time, tests, masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators, hospital beds, help. Even two trillion dollars doesn’t seem enough to stimulate the economy enough to revive it. It doesn’t seem enough. Then again, neither did the five loaves of bread and two fish.
Still, it feels wrong to eat eggs and bacon in comfortable quarantine this morning while Spain is filling an ice rink morgue with deceased bodies, friends are losing their businesses and jobs, and hundreds more will die today. People are dying every hour, as in this hour! I am already grieving for them. Though I try, I can’t fully enjoy my food. I can’t fully enjoy my home. I can’t fully enjoy my kids. (By the way, “sheltering in place” disqualifies our school-at-home experience from true, life-giving homeschooling.) I am distracted and disturbed by the current events. And I cannot disconnect myself from them. The signs on the supermarket shelves are right: “Limit 1 per customer. We are in this together.”
How to prepare for the events that are expected to unfold over the coming weeks? Let's use our fears to be the people we've always intended to be: Write love letters to our children. Send texts to say "I love you" and "Thank you." Humble ourselves to ask, "Will you please forgive me?" Confess the sins we already know we'll need to admit one day.
Most importantly, let's secure our eternal destinies by bowing victoriously before the throne of grace, where we will find Jesus, who earned our righteousness for us with His life, and paid the cost of our sins with His death. Forgive us, God, for denying and resisting Your sacrifice for our salvation. Help our unbelief!
Finally, though the thought gives me chills, let's prepare to suffer well. Thank God we never suffer alone; we always suffer with Him, with Jesus, and therefore with promise of resurrection.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” -2 Corinthians 4:8-12
Let us live with careful intention, maximizing these days.