Wednesday, July 29, 2020

This Time I Understand

When I was young, I remember on the nightly news there would be a counter in the corner of the television screen showing the number of deaths that day in Vietnam as the war raged on. It was too abstract of a concept for a nine year old to really understand. It was just a number. I did not have the ability to fully comprehend that each digit represented a human life and a family that would be forever altered by the reality of what it meant. I mean, it did not affect me, really. Not personally, and it was on the other side of the world. Still, for some reason, I have never forgotten. I have thought about it often over the past almost fifty years since.

Today, I know there are people just as fixated on the daily numbers we get regarding the coronavirus. In the United States, as of yesterday, 148,056 people have died from Covid-19. This time it is not on the other side of the world. This time, right here in Connecticut 4,418 people have died. This time, several people I know have friends or relatives who are infected. I have older parents and church members who are a high-risk for serious issues if they get it. I have friends with compromised immune and respiratory systems who are in a very high-risk category if they were to be diagnosed positive. As someone in their late 50’s with Type-2 diabetes, I am at a higher risk myself. This time, I fully understand every number we see on the news represents a human life and a family that is be forever altered by the reality of what the numbers mean.

This reality we find ourselves in should make us think about the future. If Covid-19 were to be my end, am I confident of what comes next? Jesus says in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). That means if we hope for heaven, Jesus is our only hope. It is not a matter of what I do. I cannot do enough good things. It is not a matter of what I say. I cannot offer enough prayers. It is not about how good of a person I am. In Mark 10, Jesus is clear, “Only God is truly good” (Mark 10:18). The Bible is clear. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. My only hope for eternal life in heaven with God is to repent of my sins, ask Him for forgiveness and put my trust in Jesus Christ. He is the only way, truth, and life. Have I done that? That is the question we should all be asking ourselves.

None of us know how long we have. It is only by God’s grace, I have not had a car accident, a cancer diagnoses, been caught in a mass shooting event, that terrorists or anarchists have not detonated a bomb in downtown Hartford. Such are the times we live in today. I am going to die from something, some day. Hey, six months ago, we had never even heard of Covid-19. I do not focus on it. I am not paralyzed with fear about it, but it is a reality. One day I will draw my final breath here on earth. So will you. The question is where will you draw your next one? Have you trusted in Jesus for your salvation? Truly? Just as importantly, have those you love done so? Is your family saved? Your friends? Co-workers? Neighbors? Do not wait. The Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Once I trusted in Jesus, it was not as if death is okay for me now. I still want to live a long, full, healthy life, but now, when the end comes, and it will come, I am not afraid. I eagerly look forward to eternity. I pray you do too. If you do not, call me here at the church – (860) 249-8627. Let’s talk. If you have trusted in Jesus and your fear is gone as well. How about your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors? Are they okay? Do you know? Have you asked them? Do you care? If you do, Covid-19 is an opportunity to talk to them. “Hey, Jim, I was wondering. If you were diagnosed with the coronavirus and it did not look good, have you thought about what came next?” You see, Jim is not just a number on a screen. He is my friend and I care about him. If your family and friends are not just numbers – tell them about Jesus. Share the gospel with them. It truly is a matter of life and death. Eternal life or death. 

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