Apr 20, 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.
We have a phenomenon going on across the country and around the world that baffles me in some ways. I'm sure it depends partly on how much you trust the news, social media, and other sources of information. It also depends on where you live and how this pandemic touches people you might know. But there is a significant segment of the population that thinks the novel coronavirus is no big deal. They wonder why we are disrupting our lives so much and taking such extraordinary measures for something that so far in this country seems like a nasty flu epidemic.
Of course, when you try to explain the properties of a pandemic and how they spread to those unbelievers, they wish it away and tell you you're crazy. They don't want to believe the catastrophe that is happening in New York City or Baton Rouge or Italy or Spain or many other places around the world. More than two million people have died, as of this podcast, that have been identified as coronavirus victims. Scientists tell us more died of the disease, but the dead are not tested.
The social separation states imposed works. In this country, when people work hard to enforce the rules for separation to curb the spread, it seems to be working. Cases are down. Hospital beds are available. Death rates are lower than in other places around the country and the world. Breaking the chain works. But there will continue to be those who doubt what the leaders enforced.
Our economy is in shambles right now after just a month of isolation. That shows you just how fragile this global system has become. When we close our doors for just thirty days, we fall apart as a nation. How much longer can we sustain the separation and closures to allow the virus to burn itself out in this first wave to enable us to find cures for it? I'm not sure.
We already have an increasing number of suicides, domestic violence, hungry children, and the list goes on in the most vulnerable parts of our population. Those on the fringe of society are clearly at the highest risk during pandemics, and this one appears no different.
Still, some doubt the reality of what is happening around us. The coronavirus is a hoax, they say. It's a ploy to gain power by one political party or the other, they say. It's a means of getting rid of a race of people I heard one doubter of the pandemic say. Some of the comments I hear and read flabbergast me. I don't know where they get their ideas.
The doubt in the beginning, though, I understand. I think many of us thought the coronavirus was only a news item when we first heard about the epidemic in Wahun, China. Only when it reached the nursing home in Washington state did many begin to realize the jeopardy of the situation. And only when New York City's hospitals and morgues begin to overflow did we come to understand the danger the country faced and begin to take active measures to slow the spread of the disease.
Doubt. The same doubt Thomas had when the other disciples told him Jesus appeared to them behind locked doors the night of the resurrection. We don't understand how he suddenly appeared or what kind of physics allowed it to happen. But we know they could touch him. He could eat and drink. They could hear him speak, and he could hear them talk. But Thomas wasn't there. He didn't see it and wouldn't believe it. John tells us the story.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." (John 20:19, 24-29 NIV)
Thomas wouldn't believe unless he saw Jesus himself. Some don't want to believe what is happening with the pandemic unless it happens to them or someone they know personally. We have this big issue with trust sometimes that keeps us from realizing our full potential with God and others. Faith is a crucial part of life. Without faith, we cannot survive. It allows us to walk out the door and get in our car believing we will not be hit by another motorist when we drive down the street. It allows us to go to work, believing we will be paid for our labor. It keeps us motivated to raise our children, believing they will grow to become productive adults.
Faith is critical in our everyday lives. It is also vital in our spiritual lives. Faith for Thomas, and us, means believing in the truth that Jesus is alive. He rose from the dead, not as a disembodied spirit, but as a physical, touchable, breathing person. We don't understand the physics that let him appear and disappear as the narratives tell us. We don't understand the physics that let him feed more than 5,000 with a boy's lunch. We don't understand a lot of things. But we can exercise faith and believe.
Just as we can believe the devastation that the pandemic creates around the world without being in the middle of it, if you live in a part of the country or part of the world that has so far been only mildly touched by it, we can believe Jesus rose from the dead.
It was the disciples' witness that gave them the courage to share the message of the resurrection. But it was the faith of the hearers of the message that continues to spread the message. Like the pandemic we see in our world today, there are a couple of truths we can learn. We don't have to catch it to know it's real. We can see it's evidence around us.
The same is true of God's grace. It doesn't take a believer to see God's grace, but experiencing God's grace makes so much difference and solidifies the knowledge of his grace in our lives so we can never forget it.
Second, like the social distancing in our current pandemic, if we fail to share his love with those around us, how will his love spread? But live a virus, when we touch others with his love, he has a way of sparking love in them, and then one becomes two and two becomes four, and suddenly, we can see a pandemic of his love and grace when we exercise faith and spread his grace to those around us.
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