“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;” Psalm 91:1-3
Dear Redeemer Family:
Yes, we are in the midst of a “deadly pestilence.” The problem is that most of us have not gone through this before. I read somewhere a number of years ago from a book on plagues (the old word for pestilence) that we have a new plague at least once per century. The last big one that hit the world was the Spanish Flu (ironic calling it that since it started in this country), which started in 1918, and resulted in what history calls “The Lost Generation.” It killed more people than World War I did. Most of us don’t remember 1918.
That is part of the current problem. We have been conditioned by our education and the different media sources over the years to worry about War and Famine, two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But historically, for humans, our big problem is Pestilence – the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse. Disease has killed more human beings than anything else in history. Malaria alone is believed to have killed more than half of all human beings who have ever lived! But, people are lackadaisical about disease. And people at the present time are already too quickly easing restrictions in their own minds. This is a formula for disaster. We have to be cautious, period.
We live in the shelter of the Most High. God is gracious. God loves us. And God has given us means to cope. The “Sheltering at Home” was a necessary step so as to not overburden our hospitals. God has guided our modern medicine. It is a gift. But we must be cautious there as well. Wearing a mask, especially in groups of people is appearing to be the single most effective way to stop or slow the spread of this virus. Standing two arm lengths apart from others has also proven to be helpful. These are simple measures really. They should be observed until we arrive at the best solution – a vaccine. But that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon until maybe next year. In the meantime, we need to remember another Bible verse, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matt. 4:7). People who are doing risky behavior at the present time are doing just that, testing God.
In our efforts to continue to worship and praise God on Sunday, we have instituted the recommended restrictions in Church: masks, distance, hand sanitizer, individual cups only, Sharing of the Peace from afar, etc. We are offering outdoor services on the 4th Sundays for those who are afraid to enter the building because they are high risk. We do this because God is our “refuge and fortress.” And we believe that “He will deliver from the deadly pestilence.” But, we also do not want to test God. We believe that life is precious in His sight. And that He loves and keeps us.