Today's Word of Encouragement
Sunday, April 05, 2020
It has become increasingly difficult for many people to observe the restrictions placed upon us during this health crisis. In fact, I’ve seen people gathering in large groups in stores, gas stations, even walking down the sidewalks, despite the ‘safe distancing ‘ order issued by our health advisors and government leaders. I have also heard people say they will no longer abide by these restrictions because it ‘cramps their life’ or because they believe the pandemic is not as serious as the government says it is – that it’s some kind of conspiracy. I’ve read about churches and church groups that have, and will continue to ignore the quarantine guidelines because of ‘the separation of church and state’, only to see some of their people contract the virus as a result of their meeting together. How self-centered can we be?
No doubt you have heard the ancient proverb, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” The idea most likely originated with Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, who said “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.” In the case of Covid-19, all of us have been asked to make personal sacrifices for the safety and wellbeing of others. Do we like it? No. Is it upsetting to our way of life? Yes. Will we die from it? We might if we ignore it. But as Christians, we are called to be examples to each other and to our unsaved families, friends, and neighbors.
The Apostle Paul wrote, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 8:28). Now I know Paul was writing to Christians in Rome about being a living sacrifice to God through obedience and service. But I don’t think it ‘ungodly’ to apply the principle in this verse to our current national situation. After all, it was Paul who also wrote: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment (Romans 13:1-2).
The current crisis is nothing new to the nation. It may be something new to you, but previous generations have suffered and sacrificed to get through wars, depressions, recessions, and epidemics/pandemics. History has proven mankind to be resilient and resourceful, and God to be faithful. Let’s follow Paul’s example and learn in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13).