As I sit working from home for part of the fifth week in a row, I am encouraged by a lot that I see happening around us — people helping each other, people encouraging one another, etc. Yes, there are also people that are being led around by their fear — hoarding things, grumbling loudly, casting blame in every direction they can, seeking to manipulate others for their own political or personal agendas, seeking to leverage their authority to oppress others, etc. — but I can see the roses amongst the thorns. We can really tell a lot about what a person’s life is founded upon when challenges set in.
I’m also encouraged by the recent data showing that the number of new confirmed cases per day is apparently on a down trend (Source: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html ):
As an American who is interested in how our leadership is handling this pandemic, and as I realize that the USA has the highest total number of confirmed cases, I know that we can’t blindly compare:
- the number of cases/deaths in a large country like the US where there is much more transportation and everyday free movement between cities and states and where testing is widely available and encouraged
- to a smaller country that is more isolated and remote with little testing widely available
- without taking into account the population.
When looking at the top 10 most affected countries, the US has the highest jump in confirmed cases (seen in green below):
However, when we take into account the population of the various countries, we are not one of the highest in number of deaths per population. Obviously, I’m not celebrating that other countries have a higher or lower death rate per population, and I’m not on some US specific agenda. I would love to see everyone have as low as possible death rate across the entire world — but the only data we have on something new like this is to make comparisons:
I’m encouraged that our efforts as a nation of Social Distancing and then Staying at Home over these past 5 weeks have the statistics at least indicating that we may have flattened the curve. I’m encouraged that the case statistics are now on what appears to be a down trend:
While these trends encourage me that our efforts are having an impact, every number on this graph for the deaths in the US is a real person — with even more people around them that their death has impacted in some way:
I realize that even still today, there are many who are mad and disgrunted about the shutdowns and inconveniences. I realize that there are even still today people who want to blame all of this on conspiracies, etc. and who deny that it was ever something we even needed to address. For some, even after it takes the life of someone close to them, they may still not be able to accept the interruptions and inconveniences they have undergone as being helpful to protect others — as a reasonable and worthy sacrifice on behalf of their fellow man. But I say, even if it were contrived, and even if we are to be wronged by someone — isn’t it better to accept being wronged for the benefit of others?
I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:7 in this instance. I really like both the KJV and Good News translations of this verse from the original Greek:
Original Greek: ἤδη μὲν οὖν ὅλως ἥττημα ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν ὅτι κρίματα ἔχετε μεθ᾽ ἑαυτῶν δια τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀδικεῖσθε; δια τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀποστερεῖσθε;
KJV: Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?
GN: The very fact that you have legal disputes among yourselves shows that you have failed completely. Would it not be better for you to be wronged? Would it not be better for you to be robbed?
And I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 as well:
Original Greek: Ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ χρηστεύεται ἡ ἀγάπη οὐ ζηλοῖ ἡ ἀγάπη οὐ περπερεύεται οὐ φυσιοῦται Ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ χρηστεύεται ἡ ἀγάπη οὐ ζηλοῖ ἡ ἀγάπη οὐ περπερεύεται οὐ φυσιοῦται
KJV: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
NLT: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
Lord, help us and guide us in these times to follow in your footsteps, to walk with you, to trust in you, and to not let fear, anxiety, or the challenges of the day gain a foothold in our lives. You are greater, and you are faithful and true to the end. Amen.