If someone had predicted on January 1 that just 2 months later our nation, as well as most of the world, would be brought to its knees, I would have thought that person to be on the overly-dramatic edge of craziness.
And even if I had believed him/her, I would have expected the culprit to be another 9-11-type attack, a nuclear event, World War III breaking out, or some sort of invasion by an enemy country.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the cause of such widespread panic and fear to be a microscopic viral cell.
Yet here we are.
Our normal way of life has been brought to a screeching halt by the tiniest of organisms that are invisible to the naked eye. When we traveled to Kenya back in mid-February, we encountered a few travelers wearing masks and were even tested for fevers when we entered Kenya. While we were in that country, we were keeping an internet-eye on the spread of the virus that we all now know as COVID-19. The stock market was taking big hits daily, the number of cases of infected people was growing exponentially, and the United States was getting its first taste of this epidemic illness, but we all expected it to blow over quickly.
We were wrong.
Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, prompting massive changes in our everyday lives across the US. My first inkling was when Mama's senior living complex closed the campus with no outsiders allowed in (not even family members) and strongly discouraging residents leaving.
Then the avalanche began. College campuses closing down and going to online-only classes, travel restrictions intensifying, large public events cancelling, and the "beloved" stock market in a downward spiral fueled by financial panic and fear. But when it was announced that the money-hungry college basketball tournaments were limiting spectators to family and media and the even more dollar-driven NBA was suspending the season indefinitely, I realized this was a big societal deal.
I'm all for safety precautions within reason. And I'm glad Mama's complex and other places with the most vulnerable population are being pro-active in protecting them.
But I refuse to live in fear.
God does not want us to live in fear. I've not counted them myself, but I've heard that God's Word the Holy Bible has 365 verses that convey the meaning, "Do not be afraid." That's a verse for every single day of the year. (Except this Leap Year we'll have to reuse one...)
Our culture is proving that God is not its center, as panic and fear confront us wherever we look. Panic and fear are not godly traits.
America has been brought to its knees. And while we're down here on our knees, it would behoove us all to pray to the One who is not surprised by this worldwide crisis, the One who created this world and holds its future in His hands.
Be sensible. Take precautions. But perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to share God's love and provision with others. Believe me, non-Christians are watching how we believers handle this situation. Let's show them Who we put our trust in.
God's got this.