Thursday, October 15, 2020

Certainties and uncertainties. . .

According to sources, here are the causes and numbers of deaths in America attributed to those causes:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

When I wrote this, about 217,000 will have died of COVID 19, at least as they choose to record those deaths.  Some of them were surely also from causes from the above list.  But lets just leave that go for now.

Heart disease kills four times the number the corona virus has killed this far.  Yet we still eat processed and fatty foods and smoke and vape and do all the other things that we know contribute to heart disease.  Cancer kills just a little less and we routinely ignore the warning signs and make no adjustments in our lifestyles that might curtail these cancers.  Accidents kill about the same number as this pandemic has so far and we still enjoy living on the wild side, driving too fast and distracted, and the like.  I could go on.  You get my drift.  But these are deaths attributable to known causes.  COVID represents an unknown threat.  Our heightened fears are due, at least in part, to what we do not know about this virus as much as what we do know.

Check out that number for influenza and pneumonia -- two causes that parallel this viral threat.  Yet we have vaccines for both.  And many choose not to avail themselves of the flu shot or pneumonia shots.  On TV it was recorded that more than half of Americans are unsure about getting the shot for COVID when it finally comes out.  I find this so interesting.

We say we want a risk free life and are willing to mask up, shut down the economy, and dramatically change our lives and the lives of our children -- at least until we think the virus is under control.  Yet we seem to live with all sorts of risk in other aspects of our lives and this does not seem to bother us a bit.  Is the threat from COVID 19 so much worse or is it because we have become accustomed to the other threats?

Shift this a bit.  We live with all kinds of uncertainties in life but death is no uncertainty.  It will come to us all, sooner or later.  Although it is easy to say we do not believe that death is much more than sleep, we also want to believe that at some point we will awaken from it.  If only for a spiritual existence and a union with nature and the forces of the world, we hope we will find some sort of peace.  We are willing to risk it without so much as a doctrine or promise attached to this vague spiritual identity that will transcend death.  Yet most Americans are not ready to believe in God or to believe in the God who has literally moved time and eternity in order to rescue us from this uncertainty and to give us a real promise of real life that death cannot overcome.

We as people are an odd lot.  We want to be all scientific and such, insisting upon evidence and proof before risking faith.  Yet we are willing to risk some sort of life after death on little more than a whim.  All of this in the face of the real promise God would bestow upon us, written and sealed in the blood of Christ.  For whatever reason, we find it hard to believe this but not so hard to believe whatever imaginary life we presume will follow death.  And there are those who think that the primary problem of sin is living an immoral life!  

Could it be that the most dangerous thing that sin has done to us is taught us to risk everything for nothing and to believe nothing even though it comes with the promise of everything?  Surely the Scriptures have it just right when they pin down this unbelief as a hardened heart of pride and arrogance.  Why, anyone of us might as well write off the whole human race.  But not our Heavenly Father.  No, He does the inexplicable and gives up His only begotten Son while we were still enemies and skeptics and doubters and fools.  Lord, grant us the Spirit of wisdom that we may believe what we have not seen but what we have, indeed, heard in the voice of the Gospel!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent points. Great article indeed. So true.