A meme recently read: “Can we uninstall 2020 and install it again? This version has a virus.”
If life were only that easy. Uninstall, redo, go back and correct, or just download a new version. But life is not that simple.
Mistakes, misstatements, crises, and yes, sin, are all tough taskmasters. They make violators pay. In fact, they seldom take captives. They make one pay, if possible, the full extent of the penalty of missing the mark. What would we do without grace and mercy?
But what about surviving and thriving in the midst of this indiscriminate and unusual coronavirus? How can we cope with it on a practical basis?
I write while serving at the Adventist University of Africa, a General Conference institution in Nairobi, Kenya. We are on lockdown, delivering all graduate instruction online. We, like you, are praying, trusting, avoiding large gatherings, and working from home. We are using good hygiene, social distancing, dispensing good where possible, seeking to be proactive (versus reactive), and daily practicing the natural remedies to build our immune systems.
Can we do more? Are there attitudes and actions we can implement to enable us to thrive in the midst of the crisis, rather than just survive?
The Bible depicts a series of crises that literally shook the foundation of people and nations during the times in which they lived. It portrays common men and women who rose to crisis occasions by assuming the attitudes and actions of conquerors rather than of those conquered.
What about surviving and thriving in the midst of this indiscriminate, strange, and unusual coronavirus?
Let’s look at five inspiring examples from the Old Testament.
Noah chose careful preparation over crisis chaos (Gen. 6:13-22; 7:4-12). Noah was a master crisis mover. People can choose to lose their calm, or they can calmly assess the situation, follow truth, and implement best practices.
Lesson: Spend your time methodically preparing to better the crisis.
Job maintained persistent commitment over understandable capitulation (Job 13:1-16). Job knew that he had done nothing to deserve the massive crisis that affected his family, fortune, and physical frame (the coronavirus of his day). But he didn’t cowardly capitulate.
Lesson: Even if you personally suffer, don’t cave-in and lose faith.
Joseph planned proactively over passive compliance (Gen. 41:25-36). The Joseph story has multiple lessons for maximizing crises. Joseph maximized crisis at every turn (pit, slavery, Potiphar’s house, prison, palace, power), resulting in the saving of his entire society.
Lesson: Don’t just endure a crisis; under God, maximize it.
Habakkuk practiced persistent praise over passive pessimism (Hab. 1:2; 2:2, 3; 3:17-19). Habakkuk argued with God in the midst of a crisis about what he perceived to be divine inconsistency. He lost the argument, but resolved to praise rather than protest.
Lesson: Exercise discipline to praise God in the midst of a seemingly unfair, unfathomable crisis.
Esther championed justice over personal security (Esther 4:10-13). Esther, the favored Jewish princess, had every motive to preserve her own life as opposed to risking her position for the preservation of her people. She heroically chose to aid others.
Lesson: In the midst of a crisis, risk all for the greater good of serving and saving others.
Delbert W. Baker is vice chancellor of the Adventist University of Africa, near Nairobi, Kenya.