We’ve all heard the tragic stories of people losing their battle with COVID-19. We see the images as they flash on TV screens and computer monitors – refrigerator trucks, weary nurses, testing lines that snake for miles. All reminders of the devastation caused by this viral enemy.
I recently heard a story told by a distraught brother. With tears streaming down his face, he shared that his brother contracted the virus, attended a family gathering, and infected eight members of their immediate family. Before he died, he shared his apology through a Facetime encounter from an ICU bed.
The image of the woman clinging to her son’s blanket filled the nightly news feed. Her young child had just died. She shared, “I don’t ever want another family to experience this.” She went on to plea, “take this virus seriously.”
Every day we hear similar stories, actually, we hear them so frequently that we have stopped listening – if for nothing more than the preservation of our minds and hearts.
But each day we are presented with a choice.
Recently, I was confiding in my sister about how people’s decisions or lack of a decision can affect so many lives and she shared this story. I’m certain you’ve heard it before but it is worth repeating.
The Man on the Roof
A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.
Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on.
Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.
Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.
Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”
To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”(Author unknown)
To this, my sister gently added, “God has equipped us with a brain, just as he provided the man on the roof. We can choose to use it or we can choose to ignore it.”
I don’t believe God wants us to deny the truth about this deadly enemy nor does He want us to use our faith as an excuse to ignore the intelligence He has given each of us.
Just as God provided the man on the roof warnings and help. He has sent us warning messages – we see the rate of positive cases increasing, the cases of children contracting the virus are increasing, the percentage of young adults contracting the virus is increasing, death rates are increasing – the rowboat has passed, the motorboat is approaching, and we can hear the helicopter in the distance.
Sisters, let us not be people that ignore God’s warnings. Rather, let us be people that courageously weather this viral storm trusting God. Believing that He loves us and will provide for our needs. Resting in His provision as we faithfully make decisions to protect our families, our friends, church families, our community, and ourselves. We each can do our small part.
Our choices make a difference.
Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
James 2:14-26 Message (Msg)