Until We’re Safe?

  • From ABC7 News in California: “Reopening California: State superintendent says ‘We will not ask for schools to start until it is safe’”
  • From GoAnacortes, in Washington: “The town photo, parade and patriotic program are canceled, and the city is postponing its community fireworks display until it is safe for larger groups to gather, ‘hopefully later in the summer,’ according to a statement Tuesday from the Mayor’s Office.”
  • From the NewsReview in Charlevoix, Michigan: “Greensky Hill Indian United Methodist Church invites the community to continue practicing both physical distancing and social connection by continuing online worship, discipleship and fellowship until it is safe to gather in person again; and staying connected by calling and writing each other, especially those unable to connect online.”
  • From the Montgomery County, Maryland .gov site: “Our team is ready to provide services and welcome the community back to our facilities, but we will not do so until it is safe,” said Director of Montgomery County Recreation Robin Riley.
  • And it’s not just here in the US. Here’s a headline from the Glasgow Times of Scotland: “No return to work until it’s safe to do so says Nicola Sturgeon”

I understand the concern—we don’t want to encourage people to gather if it leads to some of them getting seriously ill, or dying, as a result. However, when did the lockdown become something designed to keep us safe?

The original intent was to “flatten the curve” so that our medical infrastructure wasn’t overwhelmed. It worked. People who needed to be hospitalized were hospitalized. In fact, it worked so well that in most parts of the country, hospitals are empty. Medical workers have been furloughed because there is no work for them. Hospitals are a business, and they’re losing money because so many “elective procedures” have been postponed. (If you’re the one immobilized in pain while waiting for a joint replacement, for example, you may argue with that “elective” tag.)

When did we become so risk-averse that we’re unwilling to venture out beyond our front door?

Businesses are shuttered, schools are closed, events are cancelled—all in the name of “being safe.” But life has never been safe. In fact, we’re guaranteed that we’re all going to die someday. While I hope that isn’t for a good long while yet, and I don’t want to take unnecessary risks (at age 65, I’m considered “vulnerable”), God never intended me to live my life in fear of sickness or death. In fact, if we know God, we never need to fear dying. As Paul asserted when sensing his own impending death:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21),  and

“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. … We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8)

Do we really believe that? Does it show in our lives?

Everyone seems to have an opinion about what we should do—as a nation, state, or even as an individual. The paucity of medical information had led to an overabundance of experts, many of whom seem to be inventing facts out of thin air and hearsay. Our political inclinations have a huge impact of where we stand, especially as many of the imposed orders seem politically motivated. But as I read the news and comments on social media, I have to wonder—how many of us have based our opinions on God’s word? How many have prayed and listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit? What is He telling us to do?

And if we do hear, are we obeying?

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