Monday, March 16, 2020

In The Dark With Present Danger

Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

          While we are dealing with the present danger of the Coronavirus pandemic, I want to blog about the reality of dangers around us in everyday, normal circumstances.  If you are reading this, then you should recognize God's faithfulness to you throughout your life, while surviving the yearly flu, the past bird flu and the common cold that often turns into pneumonia.  We must be mindful, precautious and aware of our surroundings and the dangers that exist in them.

          Since I was a young kid, my parents have taken me fishing.  I love to fish, and especially catch them.  We have had our memorable moments, including a fishing pole involuntarily jumping in the Lake Conway and an almost runaway boat scare on Bull Shoals.  But I want to talk about a certain period of time of fishing in my life.  Since I was age 12, my dad took me down to his cousin's property in Scott, AR to go night fishing with yo-yo's and trot lines.  For those that don't know, yo-yo's are spring loaded devices with fishing line wrapped in it with a hook on the end and trot lines are underwater ropes held by empty bottles with hooks spaced out on the rope.  As I was now old enough at 12, my dad taught me how to drive the boat; on/off the boat ramp, up beside the dock, down the river and up to yo-yo's and trot lines.  So you realize this is in-the-dark fishing and the creatures of the night are all around us in full force.  As my dad sits on the front part of the boat, I am to drive him up into the shore line of trees to get a fish off the yo-yo.  We use a spotlight before going to the tree to see if a fish is dangling or needs new bait.  As we all know, snakes like darkness, trees and camoflague.  Personally, I am not a good snake spotter in day or night.  Snakes are a real and present danger around us all night and the thought of one falling in the boat is terrifying.  The thought of my dad getting bit is scary and frightening too.  We did not panic or abort our fun plans but we were mindful, careful and choosy about which yo-yo's to go to and when.  When my dad would clearly spot a snake and tell me of it, I turned the boat away and moved on to the next.  After many years of fun and good catfish to eat, I can say we were in the realm of danger and fear but God faithfully protected us.

         I share this story to show that God is faithful to protect us, even in regular dangers or new ones.  We are to do our part by being aware of dangers, mindful with our choices, diligent to take precautions and think of others before ourselves.  The Coronavirus outbreak is not a surprise to God and his will of protection will cover us, if we put our trust in Him.  

        World-wide fear is nothing new.  The world has been terrified into panic before.  "C. S. Lewis’s words—written 72 years ago—ring with some relevance for us. Just replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus.”
        "In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
         In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
         This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds. [— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays]

        May our trust always be centered on God who is always in control over all things.