April 6, 2020
The past week has been possibly one of the most difficult times that many of us have ever experienced as Americans. In South Florida we have experienced hurricanes, which stopped life for a few weeks, but nothing that has impacted the entire community and the country like the current pandemic. As a teenager in junior high school I remember the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Students sat quietly in their desks not knowing how to respond and what to think. I remember that I had an evening paper route during that time and the papers weren’t delivered to us until late in the evening. As I rode my bicycle delivering the papers in the dark I remember people waiting outside their homes to receive their paper. People were stunned and quiet and seemingly didn’t know what to say. Even in that time, without the Internet and cell phones, everyone was aware of what had happened through radio and television, and the newspaper.
This past week Katie and I watched a movie about a terrible situation that occurred in Nome, Alaska during 1925. Nome, which is basically isolated in the most northwestern part of Alaska, was threatened with a diphtheria epidemic, which without help threatened to wipe out the entire town. The story which is about how because of the severe weather conditions which would not allow airplanes to deliver the medicine, sled dogs were the only way the serum needed to save the town’s people could be delivered. In just six days two sled dog teams covered 674 miles in the most brutal winter conditions imaginable. Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog Togo covered the majority of the way, and Gunner Kaasen and his lead dog Balto the final 90 miles. The serum, which was only viable and effective for 7 days, was delivered with a half day to spare, saving 10,000 lives. It is truly an amazing true-life story of how people, in the time of a pending disaster, stepped up, placing themselves in harms way, in order to save the lives of others. Today’s pandemic has also brought out that same spirit all around the world, as doctors, nurses, scientists, first responders, and many, many more have placed themselves in harms way in order to save the lives of others. Thousands of recently retired medical workers have re-entered their field because of the overwhelming need. Every day we hear accounts of people risking their own health to try and save those who have contracted the virus. The stories are compelling, and demonstrate the true compassion of the human spirit.
There are many accounts in the Bible of how God is a rescuer. One of my favorite Bible accounts is when Jesus came by boat to a town on near the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus was getting out of the boat a demon possessed man approached him and bowed down before him. I can imagine that the disciples, and others around Jesus pleaded with him to get away from the man. Even the possessed man himself, under control of the evil spirits, begged Jesus to leave him alone and go away. But Jesus, the Rescuer, had compassion on him. Jesus sent the unclean spirits that possessed the man, into a herd of pigs. Those who had seen it told other people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. In Luke 8: 36-39 we see how the people reacted. “Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. During Jesus life here on earth He rescued people from disease and sickness, but always He rescued them from sin and it’s consequences of eternal death, and told them to tell others about what God had done for them.
Today there are not only thousands of people who need of to be rescued from this terrible pandemic, but even more who need to be rescued by Jesus Christ from the consequences of sin. The ultimate rescue story is found in John 3:16, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one needs to be destroyed. By believing in Him anyone can have everlasting life, (BE RESCUED FROM SIN). Sin is the ultimate pandemic and death is certain if not dealt with. The Bible teaches us that the only cure for sin is through God’s gift of his Son Jesus on the cross. By trusting (accepting what Jesus did as payment for our sin) in Jesus, his death, burial, and glorious resurrection, we are cleansed and released from the judgment of sin’s pandemic scare on our lives.
My prayer for you and your family is that you will stay safe during this time and find peace in the promises of God’s Word of the forgiveness of our sin and the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven forever.