Most of us have heard the phrase "the ripple effect." Just what does it mean and how is it manifested?
First things first - the definition. "A ripple effect is a situation in which, like ripples expanding across the water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally."
The corona virus pandemic is a crisis within itself. It has caused many people to be sick, led some to be hospitalized, resulted in many deaths, and has necessitated the literal shutting down of life as we know it. With stay at home orders in effect, not much is "percolating" right now!
The corona virus is a crisis - trial. Because of its severity, the virus is creating a ripple effect of other crises/trials.
A recent headline read, "Coronavirus is making couples sick - of each other: Lawyers see divorces surge." According to one Manhattan lawyer, because of the stay at home order, "people are realizing they can't stand each other." She received a phone call in the middle of the night from a client who said she realized the only thing she had in common with her husband was their children, and was frustrated because he knew nothing about them - never spent time with them. She concluded, "I am not going to waste the rest of my life with him."
And the Coronavirus is causing a causing a financial crisis in the oil industry. Cars are not being driven. Planes are not being flown. Pastor Greg Matte, pastor of First Baptist Church, a mega-church in Houston, tweeted on line yesterday a desperate call to pray for the residents of America's 4th largest city, which is populated heavily by those in the oil industry. Fear and a feeling of hopelessness have reached a critical stage in the lives of many residents
And the ripple effect goes on and on. In the midst of this corona virus crisis, as well as the other crises being created by it, what are we as followers of JESUS to do? How are we to respond? Where are we to look?
II Corinthians 1. The apostle Paul describes his crisis - his trial. In verse 8, he writes, "For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself."
Now that is a remarkable statement! One of the greatest Christians ever. "We despaired of life itself." And not only that, but look at what he wrote next: "Indeed we felt that we had received the sentence of death." In other words, Paul thought he was going to die. But as he writes, he is looking in the "rear view mirror." For he continues, "But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on GOD, who raises the dead." There is a lesson to be learned in our adversity. There is a purpose to be realized in our trials (please note the plural). Just what is that lesson? In times of crisis, as well as in times of non-crisis, we must maintain a strong personal relationship with GOD. Once Paul came to his "senses," he acknowledged in verse 10, "He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him, we have set our hope that He will deliver us again."
The world cannot make this claim! But Paul could! And so can we! In times of crisis, when we despair even of life, when the corona virus creates a ripple effect in our lives, we are reminded of GOD's sovereignty - His purpose. Paul learned from experience. GOD delivered him in the past. GOD is delivering him in the present. GOD will deliver him in the future.
Our hope is not in this crumbling, crisis-filled world! Our hope is in GOD! No matter how many ripples this corona virus crisis produces in our lives, our hope is found in His promise in Romans 8:28: "And we know that for those who love GOD all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."