There are some lessons about trouble that we can learn from the coronavirus. As in every difficulty of life, we can learn some valuable lessons. The latest situation with the coronavirus pandemic has some components that is like all troubles.
Lesson 1: Trouble is not really perceived as trouble unless we are affected and emotionally involved. At first it was somewhere far away, so we are not too concerned about a problem in Wuhan, China. There are problems all over the world, right? It started in Wuhan about the first week in December and then spread to other Asian countries such as Thailand, Japan and South Korea. It was on our radar screen and then the first confirmed case in the United States was on January 21st in the state of Washington.
The map speedily turned red on the nightly news with cases of the virus. We in Alabama were one of the last states to have a confirmed case, but it was just a matter of time. Now Jefferson county (Birmingham area) became our state’s epicenter for the disease.
So, trouble is not perceived as trouble to us unless we are affected. We hear about it somewhere else, it’s in China. We read about someone else’s trouble; that someone is a person we do not know. It is like a Wednesday night prayer request, “Please pray for my ex-son-in-law’s, third cousin’s, next door neighbor who is having gall bladder surgery.” It’s difficult for us to grasp the severity of it when it is somewhere else and someone else. A surgeon once told me that any surgery is serious if it is your surgery.
Even though this coronavirus has probably not infected us, it has affected us. We may not be sick, and some are more concerned that their fifty rolls of toilet paper might not last till the end of the world. For most of us, it is still out there somewhere.
We need to have compassion for those more affected by the trouble. The Good Samaritan in the Bible cared for a stranger and even someone who different ethnically than himself.
Lesson 2: We have a big God, so we need to have a big faith. When trouble knocks on our door, we need to be people of faith. Trouble of any sort causes fear of the “what ifs”. What if I get sick? What if the grocery store runs out of food? Stop it already!!
Don’t think about the “what ifs”, think about the “what is”. God is great, God is powerful, and God loves us. God said He would never leave us or forsake us. David said in Psalms 37:25 (NKJV), “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” In this present situation, we could add toilet paper to the begging part.
Those “what if” questions will drive us to fear instead of taking us to faith. Just as we can talk ourselves into fear, we need to talk ourselves into faith.
We need to read the Word of God and see what Jesus says. In the Sermon on the Mount He told us not to worry.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? / Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? / Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature” (Matthew 6:25-27 NKJV)?
How many times have we worried about things that never came about? If I counted correctly, the Gospels record Jesus five times saying, “O you of little faith”. Jesus was frustrated with people’s “little faith”. We are people of faith, so let’s act like it. We have a big God, so let’s put our faith in Him.
Lesson 3: Trouble does not take God by surprise. This coronavirus did not take God by surprise. He did not cause it; it is a product of our fallen world that is under the sway of sin and death.
Jesus warned us. Remember what He said in John 16:33 (NKJV), “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
I am a firm believer that we can have peace in the worst of storms. Jesus was asleep on a boat in a terrible storm while everyone else was freaking out. The part of that story that we often miss, Jesus got into the boat and went to sleep knowing that a storm was about to hit. When He was frantically awakened by His disciples, He was not surprised by the wind and the waves. God is not surprised by troubles.
Lesson 4: Troubles are great opportunities to show the love of Jesus. We can bring glory to God, when we have concern for others and show the compassion of Jesus through acts of kindness and support. Help others. Share with others. Pray for others.
Lesson 5: Difficulties make us stronger. In our physical bodies, resistance to gravity produces stronger muscles. Astronauts on the International Space Station spend time in exercises to keep their muscles from diminishing and also from losing bone density because of weightlessness.
It takes more power and energy to lift something up than to pull it down. Going through these difficult days will make us stronger and smarter.
Lesson 6: Troubles have an expiration date. Human nature has a tendency toward negativity. When we are sick or having some crisis, our negative thoughts will haunt us and tell is that this difficulty will last forever. That is not usually true. Our trouble will not last forever. It will end and we will get through it. Just remember, “If God brings you to it—He will bring you through it.”
In these difficult days, please remember that the troubles we have come through have prepared us to face with faith the present and future troubles.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt