Sunday, March 22, 2020

Testing...1, 2, 3...

 

Author: Jim O'Connor

 

With a new virus sweeping the globe, testing and distancing seems to be the order of the day. Unprecedented for sure, this pandemic has keyed in certain reminders for us all. Such things as personal hygiene, heightened concern for the elderly and the most vulnerable among us, disinfecting almost everything we touch, and, in general, making adaptive changes to our daily lives.  This has become the proverbial “new normal”.  It transcends all age groups, socio-economic standing, celebrities, executives…all of us. It knows no boundaries.

Historically, there have been plagues, outbreaks, and natural disasters that have tested the spirit and faith of mankind. It’s all through biblical and recorded history. When God gave man dominion over the earth and everything in it (Genesis 28), evidently testing mankind was part of that deal. The first test came shortly thereafter. How did that turn out? The stories of Job; Abraham and Isaac; persecution of Christians throughout the first thousand years of Christianity (and beyond); Bubonic plague; World War II comes to mind. I could go on and on. You get the point.

 

So, when we are facing tests of this sort, there could be a lot riding on the outcome. Usually this outcome is defined in terms of success or failure. At the onset of tests, there exist the unknown and uncertainty of any given outcome.  Whichever happens, there are lessons embedded in each one. And, whichever one happens, how you come out on the other side of it is a telling story. Job did pretty well. As did Abraham.  As did the United States and its allies when we defeated heinous ideologies in World War II.   It almost seems that “testing” is a part of the human condition.

Getting back to the unknowns and uncertainties. These two aspects will always be there. Whenever we throw ourselves into a project or task, we would like to think that we can accomplish our desired outcome. Sometimes we do. Many times we don’t. When we don’t, we either abandon and stop, or we adjust and keep trying. Obviously, with the virus we keep trying…. all the while making our adaptive changes.  As I write this, I see where our society is beginning to make changes and galvanize to combat this. Across the board, CEO’s are putting their business models on hold and redirecting their resources to manufacture goods and services to support our medical and healthcare professionals. Medical research is ramping up and working overtime. Local, state, and federal government agencies are marshalling resources to help contain and mitigate the outbreak.  Celebrities and entertainers are performing online from their homes to help soothe our souls and to “keep the music going”. In the neighborhood, I see families playing in the yard and checking on each other. So, what is our mindset as we make our way through these daily, weekly, and monthly adaptive changes? (I hope it’s not yearly). Maybe it comes down to faith.

Faith is one of the cornerstones of any endeavor (Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1) It is the antithesis of unknown, uncertainty, and fear. Faith starts and comes from within.  The seeds of faith are planted at an early age. It may not take hold for a while. But soon or later it will grow and manifest itself in our thoughts and actions. As Christians, we share certain faith initiatives. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty will cause feelings of anxiety, dread, and even hopelessness. And if left unchecked, could affect your physical health.

So, when facing this test, will it be fear or faith? I choose to keep the faith….and to keep the distance.

© 2018 by Big Cove Presbyterian Church (USA)

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