By David Hegg
From my seat in the arena of church ministry, I had a pretty good view of the whole COVID adventure that has played out and still unfolds on the grounds of our lives. As the virus has affected our church family and the larger SCV family, we have all realized how difficult it has been to find information we can rely on. Regulations, news, forecasts and even factual compilations of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all become suspicious as mutually contradictory reports compounded the confusion.
But one thing is too apparent. When we go through all the opinions, recommendations and reports, we find one thing that is indisputable, and it is this: Overall health is extremely important. What we’ve all seen is how co-morbidities can dramatically increase the chances of suffering severe consequences from a virus which in most other cases is not life threatening. Put simply, daily attention to maintaining good physical health that includes good nutrition, constant hygiene, regular exercise, and recurring medical care, as warranted, is the most effective way to escape the ravages. of the various viral culprits swirling around us every day.
What we learn from COVID about the enormous benefits that come with good overall health, we should apply to our lives in terms of maintaining a good overall ethical foundation, wise discernment, and integrated living.
Here is my point. When COVID strikes, those whose health is compromised most often are much worse than those who are healthy. It is the same in life. When adversity strikes, when circumstances disappoint, and when discouragement and despair grip your guts, you had better have a solid ethical foundation that won’t crumble under the weight of the situation.
In my work, I often sit with those who have been touched by the tragedy. The loss of a job, a shocking diagnosis, the death of a child, or a number of similar tragic events can send those with no ethical basis into a time of anger, despair, grief and disgust. self. I have seen otherwise successful people collapse in the face of situations which, while horrific, have been handled by many before them who have realized that it is not what happens to us but how we react that really matters.
Now, I do not in any way deny the power of adversity to destabilize even the strongest among us. What I’m saying is that those who have no ethical ballast, no perspective on the meaning and purpose of life, and who have lived in the depths of personal happiness and selfish desires, after being crushed by adversity, will too often remain miserable and ineffective, wallow in self-pity while playing the blame game. They are not good for themselves and a tremendous pain for the rest of us.
So what’s the answer? Just as good physical health requires constant maintenance, a strong ethical system also requires a determined pursuit of truth, knowledge, and wisdom. I challenge you to test your ethical system by answering the four fundamental questions of life.
Who am I? Where am i from? Why am I here? Where am I going? For example, here are my answers:
Who am I? I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, God the Incarnate Son.
Where am i from? Like any other human being, I was created by God as a bearer of his image, and thus, I have a value and a dignity which must be lived with wisdom.
Why am I here? I exist to find my identity in which God made me, to find the purpose of my life by living to glorify my Creator.
Where am I going? This life is only a prelude to the next. I believe that physical death will not end my being, but that, because of faith in Jesus Christ, I will spend eternity with my Creator, and with all who have entrusted their eternal well-being to him.
Yes I know. These are my answers. Yours may be quite different. But here’s the deal. These answers allow me to treat suffering as what God can use in my life for good. They let me know what is right, true and useful to live this life, not for myself, but for others. They also protect me from things that look good but are actually harmful.
Here is my last question. What are your responses? Here is a new year filled with the ability to respond well to whatever comes our way. After all, we are in the same boat.
Local resident David Hegg is the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears on Sundays.