Have you learned about hardship yet? One unintended consequence of this COVID ordeal is the economic consequences we experienced with job losses, businesses closing, and people having to stay home because there is really nothing to do. These events take their toll. And now many people don’t have a job at this time to get up for in the morning. And while it started as an inconvenience, as time wears on, it is becoming more of a challenge. I am certain that many of my readers live with a small margin. You might have a few dollars stored in savings for emergencies, but that’s about it. And how here in the states, we’re coming up on two weeks quarantine. That’s two weeks without work and if you have not already filed for unemployment, its two weeks without pay. That can and will put a lot of people into a crunch. There are many utilities and landlords who are foregoing payments at this time, but the real test is going to be April first, when rent comes due, house payments come due, and our ability to pay will be put to the test. Many people are not going to be able to cover it.
With financial hardship comes need. It is in the midst of need that we find out who we are.
I’ve been watching through an old TV series while on this journey through quarantine called Jericho. It aired on CBS in the 2000s. It depicts the life and events of a small rural town in Kansas called Jericho. Instead of suffering from the effects of disease, it is enduring the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Within the few episodes, a few weeks pass. They lose their power quickly and food becomes a scarce resource. As the citizens travel outside of town, they find that barbarism is the rule, with people being shot for their resources. What surprised me was how quickly people in the show became evil. While the people in the town remain somewhat “normal”, helping out their neighbors and working together, people outside the town become feral. It seemed the show was trying to tell us something about the nature of need and the human soul. When people’s needs aren’t being met, they lose their humanity. That is a disturbing thought.
As we continue through this quarantine, will we be like the people of Jericho, or the people outside its borders? Will we work together to meet needs, or will we hurt one another to get the resources we desire? I don’t think we are there yet, but we are closer now in this “unprecedented” time than we have ever been. Even snowstorms and hurricanes haven’t done this, not in the extent to which they affect the whole country. There have always been people who can come in to help. But in this, everyone’s town is affected.
As Christians, we have a chance here to show the quality of Christ. What does it mean to be a Christian in the midst of an extended quarantine like this? What does being a Christian mean to his neighbors? How can a Christian witness positively to the values Christ preaches and to the gospel?
I think first and foremost is that the Christian is hopeful. Despite our need, we know that God’s riches will far surpass anything we could want or ask for. We have hope. And hope is something we can share in abundance because it is our God who supplies. We have hope that He will supply our needs in this world, and because we have this hope, we ought to be willing to share this hope with others. It may be picking up groceries for your elderly neighbor. It may be just checking in on them. It may be praying with them (over the phone). But we can offer hope through the gospel of Jesus. Jesus is the only hope for this world. That has not changed.
Lord, help me be hopeful. Help me be mindful of the needs of others around me. As we continue through this unusual time, may You remind us that Your power and sovereignty has not changed. You have and have always had the power to heal, strengthen, and supply needs beyond our ability or capacity. May you continue to watch over my brothers and sisters right now, especially those affected by this virus, and continue to supply their needs from Your abundance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.