Apr 6, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
If you keep your eyes and ears glued to the news, things seem a little hopeless right now, don't they? The number of people infected by SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus or COVID 19 or whatever name you want to call the tiny creature that is raising havoc among the population keeps growing with seemingly no end in sight.
It gets a little scary when you have kids that depend on you for food and shelter. It gets a bit scary when you know you have comorbidities that could put you at significantly higher risk for what victims describe as a horrible time if you catch it. It shakes us a little when we hear conflicting information from our city, state, and federal officials. Then there are all the anecdotal stories on Facebook and Instagram and the rest of the social media outlets. We sometimes don't know what to believe.
Some say stay put and slow the spread so the healthcare system can keep up with the spread. Some say go back to work, so our economy doesn't implode and drives us into a recession that makes the final outcome worse. Some say it doesn't matter what we do because the end of the world is here, so don't sweat it.
What are we to believe in this pandemic? What are we to do? How should we act as Christians?
The current debates between politicians, healthcare workers, economists, epidemiologists, and others remind me of what happened during Holy Week 2000 years ago in a little village called Bethany just a few miles outside of Jerusalem.
Jesus went to visit his friends Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. You'll remember Lazarus. The guy whose corpse spent four days stinking up a tomb before Jesus raised him from the dead. Jesus and his disciples were having dinner with Lazarus and his sisters, and a crowd began to gather. John says some came to see Jesus, but some came to see Lazarus, the dead guy walking. But I want you to hear the end of that story as John describes it. It's in chapter twelve of the story he wrote of Jesus' life and ministry.
When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus. (John 12:9-12 NIV)
We're in this debate about what we should do as the pandemic stretches across the country. Should we continue social separation? Should we go back to work like nothing is happening? Should we do something between the two? Should we listen to the CDC and stay home? Should we get the economy back on track before Easter? What should we do in the middle of this crisis?
I know a lot of people suffer right now. I look at the hospital census in places like New York City, San Francisco, and Detroit and see doctors having to choose between who lives and who dies because there isn't enough equipment to take care of everyone. It was reminiscent of Italy and China just days and weeks ago.
We still have shortages, not only of vital medical equipment and supplies but of food and things those on the margins of life need for survival. How do we continue to ensure they have the necessary support when businesses close and we live in a day when so many live from paycheck to paycheck. What happens when the paychecks stop? The $1200 or $2400 that may come in the mail doesn't go very far these days, and then what? And the small sum that is coming adds $2 trillion to our out of control national debt. That's another $5,300 every American owes on top of the $48,000 every American already owed to pay off the mortgage Congress has given us.
The Pharisees voted to kill Jesus and Lazarus so they could keep their positions of power. The common Jews voted for Jesus so they could understand the power and authority Jesus demonstrated in his words. The Pharisees understood God as the giver of prosperity and position. Their national pride came from him. Jesus knew God as the one who calms the storm, the peacemaker, the healer, the giver of life.
I would not want to be in any of our leaders' position today. They have no-win jobs right now. No matter what decision they make, it will be wrong for hundreds and thousands of people. Whether they choose to keep us sheltered in place or put everyone back to work, all of us will be affected in ways that are detrimental to individuals and the country. Pandemics are no-win situations; they always have been. Pandemic comes from a Greek word that means all people. It affects everyone. All of us will be touched.
So what does that mean for Christians when any decision detrimentally affects many of those around you?
First, we need to pray for our leaders. Pray for them as you have never prayed before. It doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you fall. It doesn't matter who you voted for or who you like as a candidate now. No one, party, race, religion, gender, age, ethnic group, no one is exempt from what we face. The people in office must make some very tough decisions; none of us would want on our shoulders because all the decisions carry adverse outcomes. So pray for their wisdom and divine guidance.
Second, let Christ into your life and learn more about him through experience. He is our hope, our peace, our calm in the middle of this storm. Read about his life from the authors that lived with him. Read John and Luke and Mark and Matthew again and again, and understand the resurrection power Jesus wants to share with those who believe in him. He is our hope in this crisis. If you don't know him as your savior, you can start with a simple prayer. Acknowledge your need; believe in his power to forgive your sins; declare him as Lord and Leader of your life from this point on. Mean those words, and he will enter your heart and life. He will make you into a new person.
Third, when you can do something for someone in these crisis times, no matter how small it might seem, do it. We can be a blessing to others and show Jesus' love for us by showing his love to others.
One day all this will be in the past. Our grandchildren and their grandchildren will remember it only as a little piece of history. What we do as God's children will make it a tale filled with heroic and loving stories or stories filled with only pain and agony. It's our choice in how we allow God to work through us to make the difference.
Stay safe and may God bless you.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan