Back in January, the nation’s unemployment rate was under four percent; a report from my financial advisor indicated that my IRA would continue to grow at a nice clip in the next twelve months; and I was looking forward to an interesting year of politics around the upcoming presidential election in November. I even bought a one year subscription to a national newspaper so I could read about the candidates in more depth.
Today there are about thirty million people out of work in the United States, my IRA has shrunk by twenty-five percent, and the incumbent president and his likely opponent are self-destructing in full view of the voters they hope to attract in the Fall.
A tiny microscopic life form, a virus that lived in a bat in China, infected humans there and quickly spread to every corner of the earth. It killed people in every nation, stopped the economies cold, decimated stock markets and turned the human population into frightened rabbits cowering in isolation in their homes. And we could not stop it.
The United States, with all its enormous wealth, abundant resources, and intelligent, educated people, was brought to its knees. Everything we relied on failed. Finger-pointing did not produce a single mask, ventilator, treatment or vaccine. Where can we turn? Who should we trust?
Back in the fifties the polio epidemic was killing and crippling kids. There was a girl that lived around the corner from me who wore leg braces and walked with crutches. Her name was Judy. Polio took away her ability to walk and play and she was bitter about it. I’m grateful to this day for Dr. Jonas Salk who invented the vaccine that removed the threat of this disease from my own children born many years later. Mumps, measles and chicken pox were all part of growing up for me and my friends in that decade. My kids received vaccinations that prevented these diseases from affecting their childhood. Thank God!
Some say we should “trust science”, while others say “trust your leaders”. Or just trust yourself. Really? When we trust science to the extent that we believe it holds all the answers, that it will always be right, we are deluding ourselves. After all, just a few decades ago the scientists were telling us that the world was getting colder, that we were all in danger of freezing if something wasn’t done. Now they say that unless we take swift action, the world will get too hot. Politicians once told us that prosperity for all was just around the corner, that a war on poverty would wipe out economic hardship for all the poor. Capitalists promise unlimited growth, a reward for hard work and risk-taking.. Socialists promise to take care of every citizen’s every need. How’s any of that working out for you today?
A woman called us this week. She lives just down the road. We belong to the same church. She wanted to know if we were OK. She sighed when she said she missed worship, and that she and her husband can’t view the online recording of the weekly service. She wondered if it would be alright if we got together for coffee. She said, “I think God is testing us.”
I agree. Every once in a while, especially when the people get “fat and happy”, trusting the wonders of science or the wisdom of government, or the strength of the economy, or their own judgement, God says, “Stop it!!” ” I made all this and I made you too. But you won’t worship me, you won’t thank me, you keep acting as if you are in charge. You’re not; I AM”.
This virus is a terrifying reminder that we are not sovereign, that we don’t have all the answers and that God will not tolerate a people who ignore, defy and trivialize Him.
Listen, I’m a Christian, a sinner saved by grace. Thanks to Jesus, I have a life that is safe in Him. Now, I may still get sick and die from COVID-19, or I might spend the rest of my life in poverty and want, but my future is secure in Christ. While I do enjoy the blessings that science has provided; while I love the freedom and prosperity I’ve experienced in this country, made possible by the form of government we have and responsible statesmen who have led us in the past, my trust is in none of these.
No, I trust my Creator, unchanging, unshakeable, loving, gracious. and merciful. I say, along with the whole church, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 124:8 (ESV)
Who do you trust?