Coronavirus: We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, yet we fear not!

Northeast MS news shadow of death
The shadow of death by nuclear war is but one of the many "plagues" earth's inhabitants have faced. Our generation is not uniquely challenged.
March 16th, 2020     Guest Authors

“…do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation.” 

C. S. Lewis

By: Steve Patterson


COVID-19 is deadly serious. It is a global pandemic and all necessary precautions must be taken!
As the world struggles with this mysterious and frightening disease, we should seek comfort in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the words of those who have lived through similarly frightening uncertain times!

The era of bubonic plague

Five hundred years ago, the German Reformation leader, Martin Luther wrote poignantly of an era when the bubonic plague was rampant and killing an estimated 50 million people. His words are surely comforting and instructive to us today:

“Very well, by God’s decree, the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore. I shall ask God to mercifully protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order to not become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but go freely.”

I say, Amen and Amen to Martin Luther!

The era of the atomic bomb

Similarly, British writer and lay theologian C. S. Lewis, writing of the advent of the of the atomic bomb 70 years ago, summarized today’s panic beautifully and succinctly. His words ring true for us today and are relevant to today’s fears of the coronavirus. Just replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus” as you read his compelling words:

“…you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented.” <p>– C. S. Lewis<p>
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb.” How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age, when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, and age of motor accidents.”

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me my dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented; and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one great advantage over our ancestors — anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”

Whatever the era, our path is the same

“This is the first point that be made: And the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

No doubt these are trying times and it’s likely the coronavirus will get far worse before it gets better – but it will get better! All we can do is pray, obey the instructions from the scientists, not the politicians, ignore the crazies and conspiracy theories found on the internet, keep our faith and know that ”this too shall pass!”

The lord is our Shepherd and we shall not fear!

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