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The Sky Is Falling!

March 11, 2020
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I don’t mean to make light of a serious thing, but it seems like the world is as locked up as Chicken Little. There’s a lot to be afraid of! This novo coronavirus is no small thing! It’s very nearly everywhere! It’s all over the news. It’s all over Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and every other form of social media.

I’ll be surprised if your kids haven’t asked you about it. Or educated you about it. I’m pretty sure they’re getting lots of information about it. And, really, for good reason. Is there an environment more suited to transmission of any kind of viral bug into the world than a grade school classroom! I think snot. Sorry.

The COVID-19 virus is a serious thing. It’s created a world-wide crisis. The Stock Market has plunged because of it. International travel has come almost to a halt because of it. Toilet paper and sanitizing gels have emptied from the shelves. High profile individuals have quarantined themselves for 14 days because they may have been exposed to it (the virus, not the hand sanitizer…). Concerts and large-crowd events are being cancelled. If the sky’s not falling, it’s starting to shake, rattle and roll.

And here’s one of the things that makes it hard for me to know what to do about all this. There’s so much information out there about it, so that’s not the problem. The problem is that with all the information, I’m finding it hard to parse the real from the not-real. What I see is that there are strong and sane voices calling for calm, rational responses, and there are other equally loud (sometimes louder) voices screaming like this is the end of the world. (By the way, it’s not. The world doesn’t end until Jesus returns. He’ll bring an end to it. A nuclear bomb or a pandemic virus won’t. So.)

It feels like there’s no middle ground. Either just wash your hands and don’t be silly, or dig in for the Apocalypse. Stock up on toilet paper (which is more than a little silly, since COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, not an intestinal one) and bottled water, and make sure you’ve got a garage full of non-perishable food. Or else it’s stay off cruise boats and curtail your international travel, but don’t go nuts.

I don’t have an answer for the real and the not-real. Sorry. What I want us to think about is: What difference does faith in God make in a world-wide crisis like this?

The best answer, and the place to start is that no matter what it looks like to us, God is in control. He’s not panicked about this crisis. He knew it would happen before he spun the worlds into space. He knows everything. He also knows what the actual outcome will be. I would call this the Sovereignty Response. God is sovereign. He’s in control. So start there.

But God configured the world so that His sovereignty permits our choice. This is called Free Will. And connected to Free Will is responsibility. We are free to choose, but there are nearly always consequences for our choices. We are responsible for our choices and for dealing with their consequences, both bad and good.

Right. So what’s all this got to do with COVID-19? Good question. I think it has a lot to do with how we respond to it, and how we lead our families through it.

Your kids need to hear from you that your trust is in God for His provision and protection. They need to hear you thanking Him for this in your prayers. At meals, at bedtime, every time you pray in their hearing. Your prayer is to God, but never forget that your kids are listening. Kids take their emotional cues from their home life, and especially from Mom and Dad. You might not think this is true of your teenagers, but it is. Younger kids depend on you for emotional stability, and what you project to them about your faith in God’s provision, protection and goodness is maybe the most powerful contributor to this. So talk about God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His provision and protection, how strong He is. Do this in terms your kids can understand. I’m not talking about a formal lesson in theology and philosophy. I’m talking about Deuteronomy 6, where you talk about God and His values and nature at natural times. “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:7) In other words, when you’re with them. Leverage the moment.

That’s the Sovereignty side of it.

On the Free Will side, you get to teach your kids by your words and your example how to choose your response to what happens to you. It’s pretty amazing that God trusts us to make these choices. He didn’t program us like robots, and He didn’t make a law for every single response to every single thing. He gave us boundaries within which to make wise choices, and then He trusted us to make our choices.

The choice for us in regard to the novo Coronavirus has to do with what we will do to steer clear of harm’s way, and take reasonable measures to guard our and our family’s health. If you believe the crisis will mount to Apocalyptic in size and scope, then you need to make provisions to responsibly meet the challenges this will involve. If you believe this is a genuine world-wide crisis, but one that can be met with prudent life-style alterations, then you need to make provisions so that you and your family will be prudent.

God is in control. I’m so grateful for this. But we are still responsible for choosing wisely how we live within His sovereignty. There are many more things that can (and probably should) be said about this. These are deep theological and philosophical waters. But doing what we know to do – or feel led to do – about the events that are taking place around us doesn’t need Doctoral level understanding. At the bottom line, it takes faith.

It takes faith that really does believe God is our Provider and Protector. That He loves us beyond our comprehension. That we really are the sheep of His pasture. It takes more than a casual belief to pull this off. It takes actual faith. The Hebrews 11:1 kind. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

It also takes wisdom to know how to apply our faith – how to guide our kids and family away from panic and fear, and toward trust and security, how to model it, and how to cling to it for ourselves.

This is where one of the most empowering verses in the entire Bible is my lifeline. James 1:5. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”

Nobody’s wise enough to pull this off on their own. You may be very smart, and you may have a pretty good track record for making good decisions. That’s great! But the stakes are way too high to depend only on your own resources of wisdom. Ask God for it, and His promise is that He will give it to you.

So the sky’s not falling. The world is a scary and dangerous place, though. It pretty much always has been. But even in a world where danger and threat are real, and where our access to information is instant, which ratchets up the intensity of all the bad in the world, God is in control and He trusts us to choose wisely how to respond to what happens around us. His plan is to make us wise for this. So ask.

And then take a dozen deep breaths. And wash your hands often.

From → Marriage, Parenting

One Comment
  1. Macrine Jangu permalink

    It is absolutely moving how much faith you have despite this ongoing epidemic.

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