19 de mar. de 2020

The Lord stood at my side

José Bernardo.

There is a symptom of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is more destructive than any other: loss of vision. I am not referring to physical sight, but to the purpose of existence, the mission of a person or organization. I watched a video of a Portuguese deputy inviting his peers to forget about anything else to focus only on fighting the virus and saving lives. He was widely applauded, but any proposal like this, although it seems very fair, can lead to even greater harm. Fear is useful to focus our effort on getting out of an extreme situation, however, by limiting our reference to the danger we face, it deviates from the purpose in which we must persevere. Fleeing from a threat without a greater purpose than self-preservation, we enter an angular deviation and the more we try, the more lost we become. The result is almost always disastrous. It is not reasonable to run looking back. There is no solution within the problem.

I always show young people how the Word of God points rather to holiness instead of sinfulness: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” Rom 8:6. This is a principle that we must apply in all areas of our lives, including when dealing with a situation such as the Coronavirus pandemic. The apostle Paul lived by this principle and in the extreme situation of imminent death, feeling himself evaporating at the altar of sacrifice, he wrote: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth” 2 Tim 4:17. If we want to imitate him, we must first know what is the mission for which God has called us, and then find in the Lord, who is with us until the end of time, the necessary ability to fulfill it.

At some point in my life, I thought that I or the ministries I lead should exist to exist. I confess it was wrong. We must exist for the mission to which we were called. Trying to superimpose our existence on God's sovereign will is idolatry. Our enemy walks around like a lion, wanting to devour us. We are only free from his mouth when we fulfill the mission that the Lord has given us. When we try to save our own lives, however, we lose it. Therefore, the urgent question at this point, is not ‘what will we do to get rid of COVID-19’, but ‘how can we fulfill our divine mission despite this pandemic’. If we want to fulfill our mission, the Lord will be at our side giving us the necessary dunamis to live producing a lot of results. Fulfilling the purpose of our vocation, we will be free from the mouth of a like-a-lion that tries, through terror, to precipitate us into uselessness of idolatry and the pride in self-preservation.

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