At the time of this writing, there have been over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 reported and over 2,000 deaths in the United States. So far there have been no reported cases in Bandera County, but that could change.
My son works at a local retail store, and because of his daily encounter with many people, he has isolated himself from me for my protection.
My doctor has asked me not to leave my house for the next few weeks because I am just recovering from illness and am very susceptible to infection. This current medical crisis could lead us to become depressed and overly concerned about the future.
We are kind of like Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. You know the story: Brer Rabbit gets into a fight with a ball of tar molded to look like another animal and gets so mixed in that he cannot move or extricate himself. He is totally helpless when Brer Fox comes to cook him for supper.
Sometimes we get so mixed up with problems that we cannot see our way clear.
The apostle Paul saw himself in that difficulty with sin and blurts out words of desperation in Romans 7:24 - “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Do we ever feel that way? Do we want to cry out for deliverance from the problems of this world? And to what do we turn for rescue?
Paul answers his question with the following: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We may be hoping for a medical solution to this current situation, but that may not come in time.
And even if we get through this latest crisis, we know that sooner or later, something will take away our life.
And that is when we need that greatest medicine, the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ. We will die a physical death, but we are promised that there is life beyond death.
Jesus Christ, true God, became a true man to pay the penalty for our sin. Because we are sinful humans, we will die. That is the just result.
But God does not wish that we die permanently. He desires that we live eternally with him in his kingdom. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, dying that we might live eternally with him in heaven.
We still must die a physical death, but trusting in Jesus as our lord and savior, we have his promise that we will arise from the grave to live eternally in his kingdom.
Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ did not rescue him from physical death. We trust in Jesus Christ, but that will not save us from dying from something at some point in time.
Brer Rabbit’s cunning strategy saved him from Brer Fox.
Our trust in God’s promises may not save us from COVID-19 or some other illness, but it does save us from eternal death. It does promise us the greatest solution possible - eternal life with God in his kingdom.
That is worth looking forward to, regardless of what we may endure in this world.
So we respond to COVID-19 with Paul, saying, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” and live a joyful life regardless of what happens.
Richard H. Snyder is a retired Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, pastor.