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Tinsley column: Finding faith in difficult days

Bill Tinsley
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We are drowning in bad news. The coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread. Many corporations are instructing employees to work remotely from home. Colleges are shifting to online classes. The NBA has suspended its season. March Madness will be played without fans in the seats. From one case in Wuhan, China, in less than three months, it has spread throughout the globe. All of Italy has been placed under a lock down that closes all schools and prohibits all public gatherings and suspension of religious gatherings including weddings and funerals. Israel has imposed a 14 day quarantine on anyone entering the country. The list is long and growing.

The Stock Market hit the skids on Monday, March 9 with a drop of more than 2,000 points. Retirement accounts that include stock portfolios were hard hit. People are worried. It seems like a perfect storm.

Suicides are up. The South Bend Tribune ran an article last week about the alarming rise of suicides among Midwest farmers. More than 450 Midwestern farmers took their own lives between 2014 and 2018. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that farming is the most vulnerable occupation to suicide in the nation. At the same time, suicide among the young has escalated. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that suicide was the second leading cause of death among young Americans age 15-24. The suicide rate for those age 10-24 rose 56% from 2010 to 2017. In 2018 the U.S. recorded 1,400,000 suicide attempts.

Clearly something is wrong. Many are being overwhelmed by fear. While we should use caution and avoid unnecessary risk. We must not become paralyzed with fear.

Our forefathers have something to teach us here. Previous generations have survived plagues, economic crises, wars and persecution by putting their faith in God. God alone can sustain us in the most difficult times.

The Bible is rich in reassurance regarding the ultimate source of life and hope. “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. … The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul” (Psalm 121:1-7).

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, not things to come, nor powers, nor height, not depth, nor any other thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-38).

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.