As thousands die from the coronavirus, does Jesus care?
OKLAHOMA CITY — I'm not the best daily Bible reader.…
OKLAHOMA CITY — As soon as I open the garage door, I hear the sweet voice of my 2-year-old grandson.
“Hey, Papa, I’m riding a bike!” he calls from our front sidewalk.
Taking a break from a Christian Chronicle deadline, I find Bennett playing outside with his Nana — my wife, Tamie — who has helped him draw a colorful chalk rainbow on the smooth concrete.
A giant smile and a few cookie crumbs cover his sweaty, slightly flushed face. His short legs are stretched out to reach the pedals of a shiny blue tricycle.
Both grandson and grandmother seem to be having the time of their lives.
For a split second, all seems right with the world.
But just as quickly, I remember the reason why I am working at home and not at the office — the pandemic.
Most of us are living through a plague unlike anything we’ve personally experienced. More than a century has passed since a virus has swept across the United States like COVID-19. (Three generations ago, my family mourned the loss of William Charles Ross, my great-grandfather, who died during the 1918 flu pandemic.)
Yet, besides noticing the masks that his Mommy and Daddy wear at the supermarket, my innocent grandson has no clue about the novel coronavirus. That fact pleases me.
The disruption and uncertainty we’re all enduring are stressful enough for the adults. Right?
Praise God that in a majority of cases involving healthy adults, the virus is not fatal. Statistically speaking, its symptoms usually are mild, and tens of millions of people worldwide have survived it.
Yet as I write this, COVID-19 has killed 196,023 in the U.S. and 936,156 worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
I grieve with those who have lost loved ones to this virus and thank God that I — so far — have not lost anyone in my immediate family or close circle of friends. I pray for the development of a safe, successful vaccine.
And I long — if it is the will of our heavenly Father — for a return to a semblance of normalcy.
Out of an abundance of caution for Tamie, who is considered high-risk because of lupus and other autoimmune diseases, I have kept worshiping via livestream, even as my home congregation has resumed in-person services.
I look forward to the day when I can join my brothers and sisters in the assembly without fear that singing praises to the Lord might expose me to COVID-19 and cause me to spread the virus to my wife.
I’m a longtime (and long-suffering) Texas Rangers fan, as regular Chronicle readers may recall. The Rangers opened a new stadium with a retractable roof this season but with no fans allowed because of the virus.
I look forward to the day when I can watch my team play in person once again — and in air-conditioned comfort in the 110-degree heat of the Texas summer.
In 15 years with the Chronicle, I’ve traveled to all 50 states and 14 countries to report real news that honors God. I hate flying, but I love on-the-ground reporting, so I’ve spent plenty of time in the air.
After six months of pursuing stories via email, telephone and Zoom, I look forward to the day when I can get in a plane, train or automobile and once again go cover stories firsthand.
The inconveniences that I’ve experienced during the pandemic are nothing compared to the loss of life, health and livelihood that many have suffered. But I know that I am not alone in lamenting the disruption that COVID-19 has wrought.
I’d love to know how you are weathering the storm of 2020.
What do you miss most? What advice do you have for your fellow Christians? How are you allowing God — during this uncertain time — to mold you and prepare you for future service?
I look forward to the day, soon I hope, when we can sit together around a table in a crowded restaurant and reflect on what we learned in this crazy year. I’m up for Tex-Mex or burgers or pizza or even a healthy sandwich (if you insist). It’s the company that counts, and maybe we won’t ever take that for granted again.
In the meantime, Bennett is back inside our house and running around the living room.
He’s dunking shots into his toy basketball goal. He’s rolling a wooden train over tracks. He’s shuffling through the pile of books his Nana bought him to find “The Monster at the End of This Book,” which he knows is my favorite because of the antics of “lovable, furry old Grover.”
“Hey, Papa!” he says again, and all my cares disappear.
BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected]
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