We have all been personally impacted by the Corona Virus epidemic–or pandemic. Since its early appearance in the news, people have, no surprise, reacted quite differently to the news. Elder Jerry Anstey has written a wise and comprehensive piece which I include below. I urge you to take the time to read it thoroughly. We live in a frightening and sobering time. How we deal with it will either magnify our faith and our God or detract from the reputation of both. How do you apply your faith, where the proverbial “Rubber hits the road,” to your life in such a situation? Jerry gives us some wise and Biblical direction, worthy of serious practice.
A frightening reality which we must consider in this epidemic is the ease with which this virus spreads from one person to another. Because of this one factor, if one person takes the danger lightly and becomes contagious, despite no symptoms at the moment, he risks spreading it to anyone else he contacts in person.
It is unfortunate that the virus hit our country at a time when so much political venom dominates our political culture and spreads constantly into the streets. I have witnessed more hate from both sides of the political aisle in recent times than at any time in my life. When do we as sincere believers in God turn from the screaming, hate-filled voices on radio and television to our God and to our Bibles for our example and guide? And I urge each of us to make that time now. What should we do today in this climate to truly follow the Biblical guide?
1. First, let’s all read Romans 13 daily. It teaches–it commands–us to respect civil government. There is not a word about respect for one political party and contempt for the other, or respect for one political personality and contempt for another. Consider. At the time Paul wrote Romans, the Roman Empire governed most of the civilized world of that age. I believe every single church mentioned in the New Testament existed within the boundaries of the Roman Empire. If we ponder the wicked depths of the Roman Empire, we should think soberly indeed about Paul’s strong admonition to respect and submit to civil government.
2. Second, and far more important. Please add 1 Timothy 2:1-3 to your daily Bible reading. Why not memorize these three short verses? When the unbelieving world around us is clamoring ever-louder volumes of hate, let us follow this lesson and regularly pray for “…all that are in authority,” regardless their personality or political party. Pray for the President. Pray for the leaders in Congress, regardless their political party. And take note of the most important objective for which we are to pray for them, “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” And, in the present quarantine, please pray that all our churches may soon be able, safely and legally, to resume our public gatherings and fellowship. I am profoundly thankful that most of our pastors and churches have found various ways to continue “Virtual Church” with preaching and some measure of fellowship through the internet, but this does not replace the actual public and personal gathering of our churches. Pray for that day to come soon, safely, and legally.
While wisely following the “Social distancing” guidelines, look around to see if there is something positive that you can do to help in this trying time. Example, two of our Bellflower ladies are sewing masks for local hospitals. The hospital provides the material, and the ladies make the masks for the hospital. Thank the Lord for this spirit of helping.
I am thankful for Elder Jerry’s thoughtful and thorough teaching in this article.
Love in Jesus,
Coronavirus Covid 19
Crisis or Conspiracy
Elder Jerry Anstey
We live in a time where there is much distrust across our Country and around the World. Much of the information that is streamed into our homes is laden with Private Agenda, Partisan Politics and attempts to separate people from their resources. What is a God fearing, praying person to do?
My purpose in writing this article is to attempt to look to both Scripture and Science in an attempt to address what continues to be a challenge for many sincere people as they assess the situation that our Country and World is now facing with the presence of the Covid 19 virus. I will attempt to keep this article short enough so as not to lose you but also detailed enough that you have sufficient facts from which to weigh in balance the question, “Crisis or Conspiracy”.?
First and foremost it is necessary to approach this with a prayerful mind and heart, exercising faith in God that he will shine His light upon the matter in order that we might see more clearly and be able to make the decisions that are good in His sight. Please understand, if this is not our primary objective, then nothing I might put in this article nor anything that we might hear, regardless of the source will prove valuable. If, in the posture of self righteousness we remain determined to press forward based solely upon our personal view points and convictions, then we will endure the results of Saints of old who did the same. In Acts 5, we see just such an example of a husband and his wife professing faithfulness to God while clinging to their own self righteousness and personal bias, which Peter states is lying to the Holy Ghost. It cost them their lives. The point that I want to make here is that regardless of the circumstances that surround us, as children of God we have an inherent responsibility to honor Him by walking by faith (true faith, informed faith, biblical faith) and service Him by serving others in our walk of discipleship.
As with all of you, I have been inundated with too much information. Sadly, much of it is contradictory which lends us to distrust all information that we hear. A big mistake! The most important component in receiving information is to examine the source of it to the best of our ability. Jesus tells us to, “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given”. The degree of prayerful consideration that you exercise will directly correlate to the value and edification that you receive in the hearing. God our Father is faithful to communicate to His children through the conduit of faith as they seek Him and His counsel. What parent among us would withhold needed information from our children as they sought our advice and counsel? God is faithful to shine His light upon all things that we might be able to live our lives with assurance that He will never leave nor forsake. We believe in Him. Do we believe Him? An important distinction. One that requires Biblical faith.
I am blessed to have family members in professions that are being provided factual life saving information as they serve others that are personally enduring the ravages of the Covid 19 virus. Can we pause to pray for all of those that are in harm’s way as they serve others! One of the pieces of information that is being regarded as valuable and useful is an article published in the Harvard Business review, written by three highly regarded Harvard professors. Their prior works lend strongly to their credibility as they provide learning’s from Italy’s response to the Coronavirus. All you need do is to Google “Harvard Italy’s response to Coronavirus” and the article is available. There are many things in this article that deserve to be added to this writing given the topic but I will include only a few remarks for your consideration. Let me add that initially as early information started rolling in, I was sceptical and didn’t align with the early warnings and the hysteria seen on the streets and in the stores. The two articles in this writing combined with hard data from other Countries got my attention.Big Time.
In a matter of weeks (from February 21 to March 22), Italy went from the discovery of the first official Covid-19 case to a government decree that essentially prohibited all movements of people within the whole territory, and the closure of all non-essential business activities. Within this very short time period, the country has been hit by nothing short of a tsunami of unprecedented force, punctuated by an incessant stream of deaths. It is unquestionably Italy’s biggest crisis since World War II.
Recognize your cognitive biases. In its early stages, the Covid-19 crisis in Italy looked nothing like a crisis. The initial state-of-emergency declarations were met by skepticism by both the public and many in policy circles — even though several scientists had been warning of the potential for a catastrophe for weeks. Indeed, in late February some notable Italian politicians engaged in public handshaking in Milan to make the point that the economy should not panic and stop because of the virus. (A week later, one of these politicians was diagnosed with Covid-19.)
Avoid partial solutions. A second lesson that can be drawn from the Italian experience is the importance of systematic approaches and the perils of partial solutions. The Italian government dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic by issuing a series of decrees that gradually increased restrictions within lockdown areas (“red zones”), which were then expanded until they ultimately applied to the entire country.
In normal times, this approach would probably be considered prudent and perhaps even wise. In this situation, it backfired for two reasons. First, it was inconsistent with the rapid exponential spread of the virus. The “facts on the ground” at any point in time were simply not predictive of what the situation would be just a few days later. As a result, Italy followed the spread of the virus rather than prevented it. Second, the selective approach might have inadvertently facilitated the spread of the virus. Consider the decision to initially lock down some regions but not others. When the decree announcing the closing of northern Italy became public, it touched off a massive exodus to southern Italy, undoubtedly spreading the virus to regions where it had not been present.
I insert these partial quotes from these three individuals because of the impact that they had on me. I had cognitive bias which moved me to very partial solutions in my personal circumstance. Let me add that when you explore their professional background you will find no evidence of a personal or private agenda in their sharing of these facts designed for the betterment of the United States. Again, it is mandatory that when considering information that we give strong consideration to the source of it. I think we all would have to sadly acknowledge the horrible things that Italy is suffering. We surely need to pray for them. Their suffering is fact, not fiction.
I am also providing a link to a very informative article that has helped me see both the current circumstance as well as a glance forward. It is well worth the time reading it. https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56
The article is written by Thomas Pueyo, a 38 year old who was born in France and graduated from Stanford University. It is loaded with statistical data based upon hard facts that gives solid indications of how our behavior today will impact the days, weeks and months ahead. He is highly credited in Business Management and Industrial Engineering. In searching his credentials and background there is no evidence of a private agenda or any personal gain that might come to him in providing this information. He passes the “source test” in my opinion.
The key point stressed in the article is that the difficult measures of staying at home and “social” or “physical distancing” are vital to buy our healthcare system time to adapt and prepare further for increasing numbers of patients sick with COVID-19. This time allows more ventilators to be made, more hospital beds and intensive care unit space to be arranged and limits the effect that the virus will have on all who need care. Most importantly, it will allow time for systems to be put into place such as testing, and infection tracing that will allow us to return to a more normal version of life without risking the same rapid spread of COVID-19. These measures that we as individuals have been asked to take are not simple and are not without sacrifice. Staying at home and in some cases sacrificing one’s ability to provide for our families can be difficult. Still, without these continued measures the healthcare system will not have the time that it needs to care for the sick
I chose these two articles because I felt that they were written in an appropriate manner but that above all they were unbiased in their reports. They cite medical sources and were recommended to me by the same medical professionals in my family that I trust without being incredibly difficult to understand.
There are undoubtedly other secular data points that are available and that survive the “source scrub” to help us prepare for the weeks and months ahead. I encourage us all to work together to be well informed. It can be daunting as the information is abundant. Don’t forget to pray for wisdom and guidance from God above and then listen to His peaceful voice as you consider what is being said.
As I attempt to close this article while praying that at a minimum, it will stir your pure minds to prayerfully look to God as you make decisions on how you and your loved ones will or will not be affected by this virus, I revisit the paragraph that I opened the article with. The lack of trust is a very powerful and often a difficult barrier to navigate through. The presence of the “Me First” and even “Me Only” actions that have overtaken our Country and our World drives severe wedges and distrust among people who are charged by God to walk by faith. This brings strong contradictions before each of us as we endeavor to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called by God.
Conspiracy – Oxford Universal Dictionary the action of conspiring. A combination of persons for an evil or unlawful purpose; an agreement between two or more to do something criminal, illegal or reprehensible; a plot
Conspiracy – Strong’s Concordance- קֶשֶׁר qesher, keh’-sher from H7194; an (unlawful) alliance:—confederacy, conspiracy, treason. masculine noun
If we allow our distrust of information and more importantly the sources of the information to have too much influence in our receiving of important data we subject ourselves and those that we love to being misinformed to our detriment. This works fear, further distrust and ultimately contempt towards all sources of information. Yes, it can even cause us to question what the Lord would have us to know. In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Apostle Paul tells us through the inspiration of the Spirit (the source is good), that God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Simply put, we have the God given ability to take information and hold it against the light that God has provided us in order that we might discern that which is good for us and those we love. This requires the exercise of faith which is the denial of self.
The Bible has many examples where man’s conspiracies looked to bring harm upon others and how the Lord exhorts us to manage through them. These types of things come and go in our lives. God expects us to behave and conduct ourselves the same regardless of what others might do or say. As with most things in this life, we simply cannot control what others might do, we can however control how we let what others do to affect us and our walk before the Lord.
These are serious and uncertain times that are before us. Will we choose to stand in distrust of information and those who publish it (regardless of their motive, which we will never know) making decisions that might possibly put ourselves and loved ones in harm’s way or will we look within to receive the Lord’s guidance and wisdom that we might be a vessel of His mercy at every opportunity in our lives?
Regardless of what I believe about events that have led up to the Coronavirus being in the United States and around the World, people, God’s people are getting sick and some are dying. My prayers and my personal actions in regards to my natural family and my church family are fully directed to do all that I can to protect them and prevent myself from being the source of anyone getting sick. May God continue to bless us with His hand of mercy and His light to our path as we sojourn in this low ground of sin and sorrow. The Psalmist David reminds us in Psalms 23 that in times of sorrow and in the presence of all enemies that the Lord is our Shepherd. He has bought us with His blood and He provides peace, provision and a life of true prosperity (the journey not a destination) as we serve Him while we live here.
God bless and keep you!