Coronavirus or COVID – 19 demands the intention of everyone. Like the insidious and infectious virus it is, one would have to live under a rock to be unaware of it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID – 19 is a novel or new respiratory disease mainly spread from person to person. First detected in China and reported in December 2019, there are currently outbreaks in over 100 international locations.
It is currently classified as a pandemic. “A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.” (WHO)
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), coronaviruses are common in camels, cattle, cats and bats. Person-to-person transmissions are thought to occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said that the risk of contracting coronavirus remains low for most Americans.
Dr. Caesar Djavaherian, co-founder of Carbon Health, told Fox News, “There is so much overlap in symptoms between flu and COVID-19, but a couple of hallmark differences do exist. Influenza tends to cause much more body pain and the COVID-19 virus tends to feel much more like the common cold with fever, cough, runny nose and diarrhea. However, in a small portion of the population with either COVID-19 or influenza, symptoms progress to kidney failure and respiratory failure.”
By the end of February, the CDC estimated that at least 32 million cases of the flu were reported in the U.S., resulting in 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths. For the coronavirus, by March 3 the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. had reached 100, including several presumptive positive cases and 24 in repatriated Americans. At least nine COVID-19 patients have died. (FoxNews website)
During an interview with Fox News’ Mike Wallace, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, summed up the differences between COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases like the flu with three observations. First, it’s new and unpredictable; second, it is very contagious and easily spread. Third, it can be deadly, especially to elderly persons and those with underlying conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory issues.
So, we are confronted with a new and relatively unknown disease, which is potentially lethal. Highly credentialed, experienced and ranking health officials of both private and public health organizations confess their inability to predict the future but warn of potential devastation. This is likely predicated upon reports from areas of high concentrations of the virus, where accurate information is more accessible. It seems to me our officials are attempting to prepare us to face dire situations and at the same time soothe our anxieties.
Since I began to write this blog, our circumstances have changed drastically. Local governments, public works, schools, churches, businesses have suspended public operations. The economy is threatened. “Life as usual” has shut down. While not on lockdown, like the hardest hit countries like Italy, Iran, or China, we are experiencing a shut down. Newsfeeds call for “emergency action” in all facets of life. Uncertainty abounds.
On a personal level, we have imposed a “self-quarantine,” due to our age (Judy is 70 and I am just about 72) and my quadriplegia, diabetes and compromised diaphragm. Judy and Sarah have stockpiled foodstuffs; we have curtailed most activities. Our home health service which has been very spotty at best, stands suspended.
This is not the first time I’ve encountered great uncertainty. As a young man, I learned to trust God’s promises in his Word. The Lord has taught me through both through his Word and experience to trust him. The Lord has continued to teach me to trust him. Two things I know for sure are that God is trustworthy and that God is for me. I’m certain of that.
So, when I am confronted by overwhelming circumstances, by God’s grace, I have developed a quick “go to bag.” I have several tools available but the most used and almost always needed is the trusty RM 2.8 which is closely followed by HC1. I have other “tools” such as PS23, PS46, PS121 PS130, PH44 – 6 and others.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
RM 28 is for those who love God. So, I self-examine: Do I really love God? Do I believe him? Do I trust him?
If the answers are yes (and they are). I ask more questions:
• What does God say that he is doing? Working all things according to his plan.
• How many things is God working in? All things!
• Does “all things” include my circumstances? Yes, especially these.
• What if I don’t like it? I answer this with another question.
• Who knows better, God or me? God, of course.
In order to further clarify and calm my mind, I take out HC1 – Q&A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, a time-honored confession of faith:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.
This is strong medicine, just what I need for overwhelming circumstances such as COVID-19. God’s word has promised that he has begun a good work in me and will carry it to completion. So, I know that everything – from the largest to the smallest hardship I face, even coronavirus is being used by my heavenly Father for my benefit – my salvation.
It’s time for me to trust my heavenly Father and rest in his good plan for me. I know that this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, I am convinced that God knows and does what is best.