This journey through the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been quite a challenging time. And that is an extreme understatement. I have to say though, that through all the chapters in the story of this unrelenting drama, this current time may be the most uneasy for us. For we are hearing stories that there is now a vaccine—multiple vaccines—that are greater than 90% effective. So, we are seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel dangling in front of us. But we are also hearing about record number of cases of the virus in our country. The rate of the virus infections is spiking again. Some areas are reverting back to school closings and lockdowns. We can see the end, but in a way, it is too far away. This is what is so troubling. Plus, it’s that special time of the year when we are supposed to be filled with gratitude. Thanksgiving is this week; but for many, gratitude is fleeting. Especially when you cannot be with your loved ones.
Relief from this virus is near. Efforts to distribute the vaccine are pending. But it seems that we will have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death before we get there. And that is a frightful predicament we face. So, what do we do in the meantime, during this trying time of waiting and survival? Do we just sit back and hope for the best? Wait for the better times to come? What do we do while God is doing God’s work?
Some of you remember that at one time Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers, was forced out of his job, in what you could say was a business coup. After that time, Apple was having severe financial problems, lack of direction. So, they asked Jobs to come back to help them out of their bleak predicament. Jobs challenged the management at Apple to not panic, but to return to what they did the best. And what was that? Building computers that are simple to operate. They needed to reclaim their calling; you could say.
So, we can ask ourselves the same in this time of crisis. While we are in the midst of this, let’s get back to what we as Christians do best. And what do we do best? We pray, we help one another, and we share the message of hope.
We are a people of prayer. When times get tough, we don’t flee, but we fall on our knees acknowledging our dependence on God. We have a clear communication channel to God through prayer. Scripture in Romans 12:2 says, "don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." We are not of this world; we are not conformed to the way this world responds. Choose to live by faith and not by fear. We are a praying community. Fervent, unceasing, radical prayer.
And we choose to be sacrificial, not selfish. Selfish ambition is the way of the world. As Christians, we are to love our neighbors, protect the vulnerable, put others first. We are to bear one another’s burdens and help our fellow human beings. Even in the face of a pandemic disease, we are called to ministry more than ever. Choose to be sacrificial rather than selfish.
Finally, we are to do what Christ calls each of us to do— be in ministry. Share the message of hope through Jesus Christ. Shine the light of Christ all around us. We have the greatest message of hope in all the universe and it is so needed in our world today. Let us not conform to the ways of the world that gravitates to despair and hopelessness. Let’s not hide our light under a bushel. But shine the light of Christ around us. Hope can spread faster than any virus. So, let us focus on what we as Christians do best in the time of turmoil. We pray. We help one another. And we share the hope of Christ.