Tuesday, June 9, 2020

During a "Toxic Trifecta" God is Not Helpless Among The Ruins

As of yesterday, approximately 112,000 Americans had died as a result of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). That's more than the total number of American soldiers who were killed in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined! In fact, we're quickly approaching the point where the number of American Covid-19 deaths will surpass the number of Americans killed in World War I (116,516). From April 2 through mid-May, 2020, more than 1,000 people died each day in the U.S. from Covid-19. On at least 10 days, the toll exceeded 2,000 -- more than the average daily death rate for heart disease.

Sports without fans, no public concerts, no eating in restaurants, and more has really been a change in the world during 2020. CNN recently reported that Americans are now dealing with a combination of Coronavirus, vast unemployment, and systemic racism -- calling it "a toxic trifecta." Many are saying that this will be the "new normal" for quite some time.

New Normal is a term that was first used following the financial crisis of 2007-2008. It was also used during the aftermath of the 2008–2012 global recession, and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic. The term has also been used in a variety of other contexts to imply that something which was previously considered abnormal has become commonplace. Are handshakes a thing of the past? Will social distancing continue indefinitely? No one has a definitive answer. Some Christians are actually wondering if this pandemic is God's judgment against us.

A book that I've owned for decades sits on my bookshelf with marked, dog-eared pages falling out due to many instances of re-reading it. In his book Disciplines of the Christian Life, Eric Liddell wrote:
"God does not say that because you believe in Him, he will keep you from hardship and suffering. He says, if you trust him, he will strengthen you to meet all the experiences of life in a conquering spirit. You will have secret resources of power to call on when they are needed. Life is full of hard experiences, bitter disappointments, unexpected losses, grim tragedies... Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love. ‘All things work together for good to them that love God.’ He is always master of the situation. There is infinite resourcefulness in the almighty love. Many a man has become great in spite of, as well as because of, disaster. This is the victory of God's love."
Liddell states that circumstances -- whether they be brought on by natural disasters, the realities of life, humankind's sinfulness, or our own sinfulness -- many times appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans. But as conclusive as that appearance of wreckage may seem to be, and as utterly ravaged as God’s plans may appear to be, “God is not helpless among the ruins." Our lives may be broken, but they are not forever lost or forever useless.

Words to think about during this "toxic trifecta."

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso