Some tips on how to approach these unusual times.
[Gary Petty] One thing that’s so difficult about the COVID-19 crisis that we’re all going through is at times there’s so little information or it’s contradictory information on exactly what’s happening. You know, what is the virus? What caused it? How are we going to be able to have an antidote to it? I mean, these are things that are constantly up in the air. And, of course, then there’s the worry about the crisis that could happen economically, not just the United States, but the whole world as the entire world tries to deal with the situation that’s happening. And so, here we are trying to figure out what’s going to happen next month or three months from now. No one really knows. And that creates a lot of anxiety.
Now, it’s important for Christians, as we go through this, not to fall into two ditches. One is that we become absorbed in the crisis itself. I mean, we need to keep up with what’s going on, but we don’t need to be constantly, you know, searching the web. We don’t need to be constantly reading articles, watching videos, watching the news on television, listening to radio just so that we’re just flooded with this crisis so that it becomes the center of our lives. This crisis should not be the center of our lives, even though it has changed, obviously, a lot of our behaviors. Of course, the other extreme is, “Oh, well, maybe I’m not working as much and I’m working from home.” So, you spend more and more time just sort of not shaving, you know, not taking a bath, wearing just your pajamas and playing video games, okay? You don’t want to go to that extreme either.
So, how should we approach this? You know, it’s like we’re in some kind of combat, some kind of war here, we don’t even know what we’re fighting. Well, over the last few years, I’ve sort of become interested in Winston Churchill. You know, he is an amazing man, a very complex man when you try to understand him. But there was one thing he had, was a remarkable ability both in speaking and writing to capture the English language and use it to motivate people. You listen to some of his speeches and you think, “He’s not a very dynamic speaker.” And yet after a while, you’re just mesmerized by his remarkable use of the English language.
I’m going to read from a speech he gave at the beginning of World War II when they were faced with…you know, the English were faced with the fact that the whole Western world was being destroyed by Nazi Germany. And in some ways, they were now alone because the United States wasn’t in the war. And the question was, what are we going to do? You know, what’s the policy of the government on dealing with this? And his message here that I wanna apply to your life, okay? So, I want you to listen to this then we’ll talk about it for a minute. He wrote, or he actually said in his speech, “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind, we have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering and you ask, what is our policy? I will tell you it is to wage war by sea, land, and air with all of our might and with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalog of human crime. This is our policy. You ask what is our aim? I answer in one word, victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival.” I find that a very inspiring speech that he did give.
Now, you and I aren’t faced with a catastrophe as big as World War II, okay? Let’s not make the crisis we’re in now bigger than it actually is in those terms. I mean, when you look at the Great Depression and World War II, you’re looking at tens of millions of deaths and destruction on a massive scale. But we are facing a crisis. And what is maybe the message here from Winston Churchill, the speech he gave, that you and I can derive something right now? You and I think the greatest danger right now in this coronavirus situation we’re in is not just the disease, it is giving up. It is just reaching an attitude where you’re just filled with anxiety, lost in the crisis itself, or just giving up on life and just sort of living life the way you want to and just hiding out or just saying, “Okay, I’m going to go out and do what I want and nothing matters.” And you become self-centered.
We can’t afford, as Christians, to give up. We can’t afford, as Christians, to become self-centered in all this. You know, I’ve talked to a lot of people that have told me that something positive has happened in their lives. One man told me that spending more time alone working from home has given him a lot more time to spend with his children and his wife and their family was just closer and literally having more fun together than they really had had for a long time. Other people have told me that they’re using this time to lose weight, eat better, you know, just watching online college classes. I mean, people are doing all kinds of things to increase their health. They’re getting out and maybe just working in their yards, doing constructive things with their lives.
And what I find encouraging to me is you see people reaching out to others. Now, I’ve gone outside to do some work in my yard or get the mail and I’ve had neighbors, you know, wave and yell out, “By the way, if you and your wife need any food, I’m going to be going grocery shopping. I can pick up what you need and just drop it off there on your porch so you won’t have to worry about it.” And I’ve had people that are shut-ins, people aren’t able to get out, tell me that they’ve actually had younger people in the neighborhood come up and knock on the door and say, “Look, if you need something, you let me know. I’ll bring it over and I’ll leave it right here out for you.” They said, “People I didn’t even really know.” That’s encouraging because that means those are people who haven’t given up. They’re still living life.
You know, yow many times have you thought, “I wish I had more time for Bible study?” I wish I had time to really start to understand the Bible. Well, you’re not going to get a better time than right now. You’re not going to have a life with more time than you have right now. When this is over, life will get busy again until the next crisis comes along and there will be another, whatever it is. Now’s the time to get into your Bible. Now’s the time to turn to God. Have you ever read the Book of Acts and just followed how the early church, what it went through and the trials and the problems as it grew and tried to spread the message of the gospel across the Roman Empire? Have you ever read the minor prophets? I hear you say, “What’s the minor prophets?” It’s a whole section of the Old Testament.
And when you read the minor prophets, here’s how you understand them. You study the history of the people they were writing to. Oh, that might be, you know, you’d have to find out what Israel was like at the time, what Judah was like, what Assyria was, right, because two of the minor prophets were actually to Assyria. And you would have to find out what that history is like and then you would know what the real messages. Because when you understand the Bible, you study, first of all, what did their message mean to the original people? And then what is it God is saying to me?
Don’t give up. This is an opportunity, an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to help others and an opportunity to get God involved in your life even more because you inviting Him.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.