By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In the late 1880s to early 1900s, the United States entered the machine age where invention after invention improved society and our ability to move about. Automobiles and airplanes became primary modes of travel, far surpassing the horse and buggy and even trains.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, America entered the space age and launched a major effort to be the first country to send astronauts to the moon, an accomplishment it achieved in 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.
Now, we are “all-in” in the information age. We have technology to communicate in ways that we could have only dreamed about 40 years ago. Yet, there are individuals and companies dedicated to discovering “new and improved” technology.
Our world has moved at breakneck speed for years. Now, all of a sudden, something called COVID-19 or the coronavirus has caused Americans to come to a screeching halt. We have been forced to “slow down” and most of us aren’t equipped to handle it. We don’t know how to slow down and I am guilty as charged. I’m having to learn “on the fly.”
In the early 1960s, there was a popular science fiction television show called “The Twilight Zone.” There have been remakes of the series, but none as good as the original. In those episodes, the abnormal appeared normal or there were unexpected twists or turns. At the height of the show’s popularity, when unusual things would happen in real life, people would say, “Oh no, I’m in the Twilight Zone.”
Some may think we are in the Twilight Zone today, but we are not. We are in the real world where bad things happen. And, when they do, we have to face them head-on with prayer and a dependence on God. In these uncertain days, the only thing we can be certain of is that God is still in control.
Most of us have been asked to stay in our homes (shelter in place) and limit contact with other people — solid advice as we try to get this coronavirus contained. Many businesses and organizations (the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board included) have enabled their employees to work at home in order to limit the possible spread of the disease. Common sense.
Unfortunately, common sense is not common any more. Common sense is going the way of the dinosaur — it’s going to be extinct sooner than later. I do think many Americans are taking this seriously and are doing their part, only going out for necessary groceries and medicine.
There are still many people with an “it can’t happen to me” attitude who may be shocked when they are diagnosed with the disease. COVID-19 is no respecter of persons.
Notable people who have been diagnosed with the virus include actor Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Senator Rand Paul, Prince Charles, NFL coach Sean Payton and numerous others. I daresay that most Tennessee Baptists either know someone personally or have ties to people who know folks who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The disease is real. The disease is dangerous and the disease needs to be taken seriously. There are still some people who think America has overreacted. Nonsense. Too many trained medical professionals have said a crisis exists. It is real.
Christians have a distinct advantage over nonbelievers. We know God is in control. We have to live like it and show His love at a time the world needs Him most. We may be confined to our spaces, but we have technology that allows us to interact and communicate with others. Share the hope of Christ on your Facebook pages and in your media posts.
One thing that I am hearing from churches that have begun livestreaming services is that they are reaching people who would never darken the doors of the church. The opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ may never be greater than it is right now.
Take advantage of every opportunity you have to point people to God. He is our only hope!