By: G. J. Fortier
Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me (Jesus). John 14:10 (NIV)
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)
For me to say that there’s a lot going on in our lives right now would be a bit of an oxymoron. Sure, there is a lot going on, but at the same time, it really seems to me as if our very way of life is in jeopardy of coming to a slow and painfully grinding halt. It feels—at least to me—like we just learned about COVID-19 only weeks ago. Okay, we knew it was “out there”, and that it was “serious”, but that it was “over there”, and we knew that things “like this” happen “all the time”, and that they don’t ever really seem to affect us that much. It does make for some interesting viewing on the nightly news though. Whether it was legionnaires disease back in the day, the swine Flu, bird flu, plain ole everyday flu-flu, SARS, zika, ebola, Spanish … I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There have been so many over the years that it’s easy to lose count. And, with the exception of the plain ole everyday flu-flu, influenza, most of us have only heard about them. And, concerning influenza, we were all vaguely aware that, tragically, tens of thousands of people in the United States alone die each year from this illness, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands who die worldwide. It’s a shame that it happened to those “other people”, but I just got a headache and some sniffles for a week and a half. No big deal, right?
But this is different. If I hadn’t seen what I’ve seen with my own eyes in the past few weeks, I’d wonder if it was really happening.
I could spend the rest of this article telling you about all the things that you see on NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABCDEFG, etc. every evening—but I’m not going to. Instead, I want to ask you a question:
How real are the words in the verses above to you?
If you’re reading this, you’re either a Christian, or you’re probably someone who’s curious about what Christians (at least this one) believe. Please keep in mind that these articles, regardless of where or how you’re reading this, are opinion pieces, also known as oped’s. That means that the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. I am not necessarily speaking for any other individual or organization.
So, how am I feeling about what’s going on right now? Pretty good, actually. I came to the realization that I have zero control over any aspect of my life—with very limited exceptions—about fifteen years ago. Now, I can usually control what I eat, where I go, etc. But the fact is, if God has other ideas, I may have to adjust my desires based on what He’s made available to me. And that’s true about everything in our lives, like it or not.
But that’s okay … because … well … it has to be.
Now, I’m gonna write about me and my personal experience so far in this crisis.
I really haven’t been affected all that much.
I know, that might seem hard to believe, but it’s true. The Lord has seen to it, because of where He has been positioning me for more than a decade. That my needs, and those of my employees, at least to the extent of their jobs, have been met. They, because of their advanced age, are staying at home, out of “harm’s way”, while I have been allowed to continue to serve my client in a modified role. That is, truly, a blessing for me, because I cannot stand the thought of staying at home for any extended period of time. I mean, you can only do so much yard work anyway, and if I did it all, what would my brother have to do?
That was an inside joke.
Seriously, my daily life has not changed much. I constantly wear gloves and a mask where I work, and I’ve seen the empty shelves at the stores on those few occasions when I’ve ventured out. But, for the most part, it’s business as usual. One thing in my daily routine has changed though. I’m making it a habit to learn one stupid joke—a clean joke—each morning. This is not something that I ever aspired to, but it’s something that I’m doing in an effort to bring a smile to the faces of the people that I come in close—relatively speaking, remember your “social distancing—contact with. Another thing that I’m doing that isn’t my norm, I’m spending a lot of time on Facebook. I, unlike most people, lead a solitary life. I have friends and family, sure, but when I lock my door behind me each evening, there’s just me and my dog. Because of the current situation, I find that I need a little more social interaction than normal, which is weird for me. Oh, and I pray … a lot more than usual.
Shame on me!
So far, I haven’t suffered any hardships. I know no one, or anyone who knows someone, who has contracted the virus … so far. But I fear that will change soon.
Here’s my bottom line …
I am truly blessed!
I gave my life to Jesus almost fifteen years ago, and since I did that, I have been more content with my circumstances than I ever was before. I sleep well each night, resting in the knowledge that God has me safely in His hands. I know that there is no guarantee that I won’t suffer trials. On the contrary. The book of James tells us that trials are simply a way of life for all of us. I have no illusions about the fact that I will, someday, face a storm that I won’t be able to handle on my own. But I also know beyond doubt, because of my past, that God will handle whatever comes at me, and that my biggest challenge will be how I come to terms with whatever it is that God wants for me. So, I’ll ask you again …
How real are the words in the verses above to you?
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (NIV)
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.