Lisa and I will be leaving for vacation this Monday, October 6, and we will be basically out of pocket for 5 days with little, if any, contact with the outside world.
As I write this article, still several days before you will read it, the news is full of stories about the 1st Ebola patient in the United States, a man who arrived in Dallas from West Africa. As I read the news reports and sense the growing undercurrent of panic, I can’t help but wonder what the mood of the country will be in a week when Lisa and I get back. Will there be more confirmed cases of the disease? Will there be even greater panic? Will our government impose travel restrictions or other measures in an effort to stop the disease from spreading?
While it is great to be informed, having 24/7 news can also add to the general anxiety of people. The media, constantly striving for ratings, is hardly above sensationalizing any and every story just so you’ll watch their report or read their newspaper. I can’t help but wonder how many people in the next week will lose sleep over the endless reports and warnings regarding this frightening disease. Let’s be honest about it: to dwell on the potential ramifications of an Ebola outbreak is enough to keep many people up at night.
As with any and all such dangers, Christians are reminded that God is in control of all things. That knowledge should provide for the faithful the peace that surpasses all understanding, (that) will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NKJV). That doesn’t mean that God will necessarily stop this Ebola outbreak and that all of us will be safe and healthy. After all, God doesn’t differentiate between any persons and He allows bad things to happen to good people: He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45). However, no matter what happens, God’s hand will be involved and, as always, He will work for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). If the worst thing that can happen to me is that I contract this, or other any, disease that takes my life, then I will look forward to being with Christ, which is better by far than being here on earth (Philippians 1:23). That may sound a little odd to some, but it is exactly what the Bible teaches: our eternal reward as faithful Christians far outweighs the light and momentary affliction that we endure on earth (2 Corinthians 4:17).
No matter what happens in the coming weeks, those who belong to the household of faith should remember the words that the Lord spoke through the prophet, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). What a comforting thought it is that our God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, who sits enthroned above the circle of the world (Isaiah 40:22), is in control of each and every situation. His strength will see us through any and all calamities and He will hold us up when the physical world wears us down.
One week from now, the world may be rolling along just as it was a few weeks ago or it may be a frightening and uncertain place. I, like everyone else, have no idea what the future holds. But, God does; He’s in control and in charge, and that’s good enough for me.
My job is to stay faithful and obedient to His Word, His will and His purpose. I’ll leave to Him the concern of taking care of the world. After all, it all belongs to Him anyway.
My God bless you and keep you through this and all trials. May your strength, confidence, hopes and faith be in Him, and Him, alone. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”