Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
When this COVID-19 virus began, it wasn’t even a blip on the radar of anyone’s concern list for Spring. Programs were being planned as per usual. Events were being paid for in advance as was customary. Weddings and other special occasions were being set up as they occur. Everyone who heard of this gave a glancing nod to the story in the news.
When this news began to be trouble for other countries, the story took on new meaning. The concerning moment came when flights to once busily traveled locations stopped; alarms started going off in the public. The Center for Disease Control was already concerned. Still, people believed there was no significant danger here. Some thought, the trouble elsewhere was because of their poor medical availability to the average citizen. Still, the numbers were staggering in the countries where it started.
Our nation seemed protected mostly because of the continental divides, being separated by the oceans. When we started to get wise to the unstoppable nature of this virus we were shocked by the enormous effort to which our government officials were going to save us; washing hands, social distancing, stay at home orders and closing businesses so we could stay at home became signals this is as big as it gets. Yet, some lived in denial all around, violating restrictions because they just could not believe it would affect them. Parties, weddings, funerals, businesses, were encouraged by some leaders to go on as usual.
Here we are several weeks into the restrictions and we still don’t see an end in sight. The burning question is how are we doing so far? Hours and days spent at home or driven to work because your job is deemed essential; when this is all over we will realize how essential every job is, ultimately. I can’t help but wonder, will we grow through this or just go through this? We are missing Easter events, graduation events; some will miss destination vacations, business events, and more. We are definitely missing church events. Ultimately, I wonder if we will come out of this more grateful to God or will we get over this and forget God was ever in this in any way?
A friend asked me how long this could go on and I quickly fell back on a favorite thought shared with me many years ago. To me, the question is are we halfway through it or not. You can only go into a forest half way because from there you are coming back out of the forest. The answer is this virus will be with us for a long time to come. It will reemerge in seasonal disease even if it seems to drop off in the summer months. We will come out of this different than we began. When we look back on this event we may ask ourselves what is the worst or best part, so far? Some are finding their faith in this--while others are losing theirs. I hope you will make your faith stronger through this time. It will be the Savior who takes you home to heaven one day. Walk with Him now and be at home in heaven later. It’s a walk worth making.
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