But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
A friend contacted me recently out of the blue. He and I were both hired at the same time for the same job, 24 years ago. Although he left about eight months later, we became good friends and we have kept in contact, loosely, ever since that day. He suggested that I write a blog post about what life will be like after the coronavirus lockdown, stay-at-home order, whatever is over.
I thought that was a great idea, but I have been given no great wisdom from God. I may have prophesied at various times in my life, but that came from God. Most of the time, I felt like grabbing the words in mid-air and shoving them back in my mouth. I knew what I had said, but I had no idea where those thoughts came from. I had no data or evidence to back up what I’d said. Then, when it came to pass, I realized the Holy Spirit had used me, again. And He didn’t even say, “Mother, may I.”
I usually bristle when someone suggests a topic and say that if I don’t “feel” the subject, I can’t write about it. I try to write about what I’m feeling, that strong urge in the back of my head that grows more persistent or the instant idea after reading a devotion or paragraph in a book. My brain tells me that those feelings might have come from God and that someone on the far side of the world or down my block needs to read what I wrote. I don’t say that to puff myself up. Hardly, I say it because I humbly submit these posts, because I feel a calling in doing so. And if it’s a calling from God, then I should respond to God’s urging, not the notions of others. But those who read this blog regularly know that I listen to some strange voices on occasion that may or may not be God.
But this one suggestion stuck. Then I watched a news report about people in Miami, Florida who were mixed about their feelings regarding “Stay-at-Home.” One mature woman said that the violators of social distancing were putting the rest of us at risk. But to give equal weight to a different opinion, the reporter asked a woman, who had a man draping his arm around her (not six feet away, but maybe her husband). They asked her about her disregard of the Stay-at-Home order. She said that her reason for being outdoors in a crowd was that it was the “absolute antidote for despair.”
I read an article that as the coronavirus ‘curve’ becomes flattened, a second curve will replace it. The second curve is the psychiatric curve as people, who are already frightened about a virus, have been subjected to claustrophobia, although they never had claustrophobia before. The virus, as some predict, will take far less lives than the trauma over the virus and the reaction to having to stay home. (Loving my stay at home time, my mind was blown.)
The virus is real. I do not deny the virus, but I have said before that the virus cannot separate me from my Lord. In fact, if I die, I will be with Jesus forever. No more pain, no more sorrow, no more viruses, no more uncertainty. And I use that uncertainty lightly. I am certain in salvation, but maybe not so certain whether I can find microwave popcorn the next time I go shopping.
On my new diet, microwave popcorn has become my evening treat if I had a small-portion meal for supper. And, yes, I am still losing weight, but the diet is for avoiding IBS type symptoms. I care little about the weight. In fact, I fear the loosing of the weight more than losing the weight – having my pants fall down because they are too loose.
Anyway, I went to the wholesale warehouse store to get a 44-pack of microwave popcorn and two 2lb blocks of sharp cheddar cheese. As I told my wife, at the present time, I could live on those two items alone if I had to. Yes, I went to the store to get three prescriptions filled, but the top two things on my list under the column of: “When you go to get medicine, also get:” Cheese and popcorn. There were other items on the list, but those were the most important, and on top.
They had none of either item! What!? Can life be worth living with the absence of one of those two? Now both?!?! Hey, Kathy of A Time to Share, I am sure you could emote my “despair,” or teach me how to express it with more exclamation marks!!
So, I had a quote from a “law breaker,” an article about how the “world” will only cope through better chemistry as doled out by Psychiatrists, and my reaction to an overstocked warehouse store that had plenty to offer, just not what I wanted, and felt I needed. Yep, I didn’t need my friend to pile on with a suggestion, as it were.
Of course, there are modern philosophers that are talking about how we sit at the table and communicate with one another. People are reading more books. There are positive changes in this ‘additional free time.’ But I remember living in an all-electric home, in winter, with no power for three weeks. On the anniversary of the ice storm that caused the power outage, our younger son wanted to turn out the lights, crank up the lantern and play board games while shivering due to no heat in the house. My wife and I looked at each other in horror, not wanting to repeat that memory, regardless of the bonding elements that came forth. Will things change after COVID-19 or will they quickly go back to normal, avoiding the thought of the problem?
What happens next? Sadly, most of the world will drain down the sewer toward the Psychiatrists’ office, not that there aren’t good shrinks out there, but lasting solace cannot be found there, even if you have the best Psychiatrist that ever lived, who is also a Christian.
I read a quote that was attributed to George Carlin, but I doubt it. He might have occasionally been vulgar, but he was a wordsmith, careful in his use of words. The quote said that the average person in the world is stupid. That means that half the people that you know are stupider.
Using ‘stupider’ doesn’t sound like George Carlin, but the point in repeating this ‘quote’ is that a lot of those stupider people are the ones violating the stay-at-home order, so when this is over, they will keep on keeping on being stupider, if they survive. We have a neighborhood kid, but too young to get a driver’s license, who drives a motorcycle at ridiculous rates of speed. He used to go out at 10:30pm. By then, a complaint from a neighbor will reach the police station during shift change and there would be no one to catch him on the graveyard shift. Thus, he doesn’t “violate” the law, because he “doesn’t get caught.” I have no radar gun, but I have a good ear for such things and the pitch change due to the Doppler effect, and the quickness that the sound fades, tells me that he’d never survive the crash at that speed, even with a helmet, which I doubt that he has. Now, during the Stay-at-Home order, he speeds through the neighborhood during the day, allegedly. Stupider will continue to be stupider.
The ‘smarter’ will search their minds for answers. They will take the pills that their shrink prescribes, and they will either continue to feel worse or simply feel numb. They will check out emotionally, mentally, and maybe even physically. Can you believe how people are not motivated to exercise, because the gym is closed, even though they have all the equipment at home?
As for the global landscape, I don’t need a special oracle from God to say that the global economy may take a major hit. If you haven’t noticed, most of the world is manufacturing the things necessary to keep life going as we know it, beat the virus, and stay afloat. But the nation where the virus started is moving beyond that. They’ve put the lockdown in their rearview mirror. They are gearing up production for when the rest of the world starts wanting “stuff” instead of focusing on the need for either human touch for the lonely or peace and quiet for those who are taking care of children who cannot go to school right now.
The rest of the world will catch up, but how many will get their jobs back in a shaken economy? How many babies will come into the world nine months from now, coming into homes where there is no employment?
But I have hit the true answer to a lot of this with glancing blows. We are now living in “fear.” We, as many think, will turn to pills and doctors to cope afterwards. Times will be uncertain, creating new fears, many from our imagination rather than based on fact. Some will even fear a new fear, one created by finding empty shelves in a store that never had them before.
But what does the Apostle Paul tell us through his letter to the Corinthians in the Scripture above? “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” We have not been as hard pressed during this lockdown as the Apostle Paul was in his life of service to Jesus, but Paul says that he was not crushed. Why do we feel that we are?
What did the woman say about her defiance of the Stay-at-Home order, and the Wear-a-Mask directive? Her defiance, by being in a crowd outside, was the “absolute antidote for despair.” If she had Jesus in her heart, there would be no despair. As Paul, she might be perplexed, but without despair.
I always thought of myself as a wimp. I finally convinced my Dad at fifteen years old that since my batting average was less than 0.100, I should give up baseball. About the same time, I convinced him that football wasn’t my sport either. After all, I mostly rode the bench. Those were the things that my Dad measured to figure out if I was a man or not. Thus, I was a failure, even though I went from being an Eagle Scout to be a commissioned Army officer. All because I did not excel at sports.
But with God in my heart, I can do anything that is necessary for carrying out His will in my life. I might be persecuted, but I am never abandoned, because I have Jesus in my heart. Sure, I am an introvert and thoroughly loving the free time while being “imprisoned” in my house, in the little office that I set aside for my writing. But, I fear no evil, for God is with me…
I have no reason to seek a shrink after this is over, and no true believer should either. God has this, and if we survive it, there is a reason for that survival. We need to search God’s will and follow His calling.
What happens next?
It’s either more of the same and growing fear, or more of God’s Glory. It’s your choice.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.