Don’t Forget To Remember | A Special Coronavirus Message from Steve Brown
MARCH 30, 2020
Whenever any new crisis like the coronavirus happens it’s so easy to go into panic mode.
It’s hard not to go there with 24/7 news telling us that we’re all going to die. In times of crisis believers should, of course, be careful, smart, and wise. But believers should also remember a God who is “the same yesterday and today and forever,” and a God who has demonstrated over and over again that he has no perspiration on his upper lip.
God said to Joshua, after a major crisis, to have his men take twelve stones out of the Jordan and to lay them down on dry ground. “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord” (Joshua 4:5-7). Christians have “piles of stones” too. They are memorials, and the gift God gave to believers and a gift we give to the world as a part of our witness.
In most families someone is the “keeper of the memories.” It’s the person with lots of photos…generally reflecting our memories of happiness and times of celebration. That’s certainly true of our family, and if Facebook is any indication, it’s certainly true of everybody else’s family too. It’s hard to find a photo of a hospital ward, a casket, or a divorce or bankruptcy decree. Do you know why? At least for Christians, the dark side was only a way to create memories of how God brought the light out of it.
Paul said that God hasn’t given Christians a spirit of fear, “but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Most of us wonder if that’s really true. The only way to know is to discover it in a crisis like our present one. The “gift” of the crisis is that we will “know.” Corrie ten Boom, in talking to Christian leaders afraid of what would be a major persecution of Christians, referred to her experience in the Ravensbruck concentration/death camp. She said that she had discovered that God gave the grace when it was needed and not before.
I don’t want to be a “Pollyanna” here. The personal and national crises are real and scary, but don’t forget the memories. War (been there, done that). The polio quarantine of the mid-fifties (been there, done that). The energy crisis of the seventies (been there, done that). The passing of loved ones (been there, done that). The destruction of hurricanes (been there, done that). The coronavirus crisis…now we’ll be able to say we’ve been there too.
But more than that, we’ll be able to add more stones as a memory of God’s faithfulness. We will remember a God who knows that crucifixions are followed by resurrections. It’s built into the universe by the God who created it.
It is, after all, the point of the Lord’s Supper. The world says, “Have a drink and forget.” Jesus says, “Drink and remember.”