Reflections on the Coronavirus

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  • Category

    Leadership

  • Date

    April 26, 2020

The past six weeks have been filled with unprecedented milestones for our country, our world.

Uncertainty and anticipation have plagued the minds of people around the globe. Fear and anxiety have gripped our nation.

An eerie silence is suspended in the air. For many, they see emptiness crawl over the barren shelves, tranquility creep across the ghostly streets.

Yet, in the stillness, in the quietness, our toes are quivering on the edge of something great as we stare out into the vast expanse of opportunity. An unprecedented opportunity. An opportunity for unity.

With so much division in the world, we often get drowned out by the noise of the media, counter-arguments of our opponents. We are swept away into our own self-serving desires, self-centered opinions and self-focused ambitions that we face extreme loneliness and isolation. Even when we are in the presence of others. 

But, in this time of physical aloneness, we are more unified than ever. We have a single enemy and are likeminded in our goal to survive, overcome, rise victorious. Beat the virus.

It’s funny. When we feel like we are losing control, our tendency is often to let go of our own desires, for once. The very thing we so often anchor our hearts to, “ourselves,” is often the first thing we push away when we feel like we are spiraling out of control. Instead, we grasp for truth, we cling to hope. 

It is moments like these, if we are honest, that make us long for a hope and a future.

We long to be unified with every nation, tribe and tongue. To be at peace with everyone.

We crave to be wrapped in truths reminding us that these sorrows and trials are momentary and will last just for a moment, but there will be joy in the morning.

If only there was a day with no more tears, pain, sickness or fears.

Though as trying and difficult as storms of this life are, sometimes, they are rock solid reminders that we, our finite selves, are not the end all, be all. Sometimes, these circumstances are a reminder for us to climb down off the throne of our heart and let someone more powerful, all-knowing, infinitely wise and endlessly loving take the reins.

In the past 43 days, the harsh reality of leading companies hit me more than ever as I had to make painfully excruciating decisions that have and will impact my team members and their families was and is a great weight to bear. Tallying the number of people that are impacted by my decisions reached well into the thousands.

It was a sobering reminder that as an imperfect human being, I’ve been entrusted with the opportunity to directly or indirectly influence so many. Humbling. Frightening. 

For me, walking through an empty airport, strolling down the vacant downtown sidewalks, listening to the absence of sounds once made by cars passing by, all remind me of my need for something more than myself. It’s a different longing than can be filled by my family and friends.

My hope is not anchored in success measured by an earthly standard. My hope for tomorrow doesn’t rest on a government or an institution. My hopes is in the never-ending love of God. He is the anchor for my soul. My hope for tomorrow. My refuge and hiding place.

We all have access to this peace and hope. We are all created equal and in the image of God. It says so in the US Constitution, but more importantly in the Bible. It was the plan of the Creator from the very beginning.

Though our selfish decisions as humans have eternally separated us from our Creator, He had a perfect plan. He loved us so much that in our waywardness, in our suffering, in our sickness, He wanted us back. So badly.

But we were too arrogant to listen. We missed His signals. Our pride clouded our judgement and our “me, me, me” muted out His plea for us to stop running and trust that He had it under control. Everything was, is and always will be under control—His control. 

The only way, the only way, the only way to capture our attention was through the unthinkable, the unbelievable. 

Through a broken genealogy filled with misfits and rejects, outcasts and untouchables, was a young girl, pregnant out of wedlock carrying a child that was not her fiancés. Her life seemed out of control. Her family tree, chaotic. Her circumstances, dire. 

And yet, she was trusting. Oh so trusting. Trusting that something, someone bigger than herself existed and that He was greater than the shame of her ill-gotten pregnancy. 

She too walked silent streets. The silent streets of a small town in the Middle East. She and her fiancé scoured a tiny town for a place to rest for the night. But much like doors being closed today for our safety, every door was closed to this couple. No one wanted the shame that this couple would bring into their hotels, their inns. 

And so the time came for her to give birth that evening and the only place that she and her betrothed could find was a barn, if you can even call it that. She gave birth to a son and wrapped him up in the rags that they had with them and placed him in a feeding trough because there was no room in the inn. 

It was a silent night. The only noises were the screeching bray of a donkey and the irritating bleating of sheep. 

This young girl had faith and trust. Faith that all of the things happening to and around her would be worked together in a symphony of events and milestones for her good. Her trust was foundational for her realizing she was tethered to a loving, all-caring, immeasurably wise, Creator of the universe that only had her best in mind…even when everything around her seemed to be working against her best interest. 

I certainly do not have an answer as to why the coronavirus has plagued our cities, country and our world. The destruction in the wake of this virus is unfathomable.  The loss of human life, first and foremost. Beyond that, the destruction of economies, the loss of jobs, the unthinkable anxieties and worries of what tomorrow will hold, the list goes on and on and on as we each have our own story. 

But, in a time like this, we realize our own story isn’t just our story. We realize that despite being subjected to the physical separation of social and physical distancing, we are more united than ever. 

Our story—yours and mine—is just the tiniest thread in a much greater tapestry. No doubt, the masterpiece would not be complete without each of our threads, and yet, we are a minuscule part. Just like the passing of wind. 

Though at times we can feel so small and insignificant, powerless and unendingly desperate, we should be honored that we are included in the story. 

That small piece of thread is integral to the bigger picture. Each one of us holds a much larger role. We are placed so precisely and perfectly where we need to be and when we need to be there. Each of our threads is beautiful, unique and hand spun since before the foundations of the earth by our Creator.

This is an artist and Creator that is enamored with each of us for exactly who we are right now. He is so crazy passionate for each and every single one of us that the only perceivable yet completely inconceivable way he could possibly capture our self-centered attention was human sacrifice. 

The young, pregnant, unmarried teenage girl that wandered the streets of Bethlehem was an integral part of this incredible tapestry. Her thread was intertwined with the Son of the Creator. The Creator once again tried to capture our attention and win our hearts by sending the ultimate sacrifice, his Son, Jesus, to this sin-broken, sick-ridden, virus-plagued world. 

Jesus: a carpenter, a rabbi, a radical, a prophet, a religious leader… Yes, and most importantly, a Savior. One who endured the most heinous crime and unthinkable torture because of me. Because of you. 

See that suffering, more than you or I could ever fathom, was exponentially greater than anything anyone is walking through today. Not to make light of our current circumstances, on the contrary, to magnify the grief and pain, loss and separation many of us our experiencing right now. But that pails in comparison to the agony carried on Jesus’ shoulders for you and me.

But that gives hope. This hope is that every single one of us has been offered a life free of suffering, free of pain, free of sickness, free of separation, free of despair. Mistrust and distrust, separation and alienation, unfair and unjust treatment, all will vanish.

For the price and penalty of everything that you or I have ever done wrong is death. And the stats on death are pretty staggering. One out of one die. But, it is the gift of God, the God that created the Universe, that can spare you death. Not it is not the fountain of youth, it is the promise to live with infinite hope and unending peace for eterenity.

The God that knew your name before the foundation of the earth; the God that knows everything that you struggle with, that pains you, that hurts you…it is that God that tried to catch your attention via the unthinkable—human sacrifice. 

God did the unfathomable so we could inherit the unimaginable. He sent his son Jesus as an innocent baby who lived the perfect life, flawless and without any blemish that you and I were supposed to live. What is more, after living perfectly, Jesus took everything you have done wrong and will do wrong—every bad thought, every wicked deed, and put that on his back and all of that was nailed to the cross.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing that you could do today to make God love you anymore—he already sent his Son to die for you, in your place. Top that. That is ultimate love. And there is nothing you could ever do to make God love you less.

If you look at Jesus’s genealogy, it was filled with prostitutes, liars, murders, slanderers, adulterers…that does not matter. Someone loves you so much that He gave the thing most precious to Him up as a sacrifice so that he could be in a relationship with you.

That should tell you how precious, how special, how crazily loved you are. 

You are loved.

More than you know.

You are precious.

The best part is Jesus did not stay dead. He rose again. 

Some of us wish we had a mulligan. We wish we could wake up tomorrow and start over to avoid the mistakes, the minefields the misfortune.

What if there were a reset button?

The gift of a reset, a do-over is available to you. The promise of eternal life is a free gift. This is available to anyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s actually that simple.

The hard work is done. It is not about what you can do, because frankly, you cannot save yourself. Some days, it’s hard enough to get out of bed and face the day, let alone trying to conquer death.

But Jesus made a way for us.

He did everything necessary to save us by living the life we were supposed to live and dying the death we were supposed to die. Then he raised to life and has gone before us into heaven where there will be no more tears and no more pain to prepare a place for us.

The gift is under the tree with your name on it. It’s free. What are you waiting for?

The past six weeks have been filled with unprecedented milestones for our country, our world.

Uncertainty and anticipation have plagued the minds of people around the globe. Fear and anxiety have gripped our nation.

But God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. He’s unchanging. He’s not surprised. He’s not shaken. He’s just standing at the end of the long road with his arms outstretched, calling your name. He loves you and he wants you to lean on him and run into his open arms.