“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people!” Luke 2:10
I am one who absolutely loves to deliver good news. I love the look of surprise and delight on the face of the recipient, even if the good news has nothing to do with me. I’m not looking for credit, I just like watching people being made happy.
But sometimes, especially lately, I get a less than delighted response. Sometimes the person I am telling good news will, in fact, get angry with me. Now I‘m the one who is surprised, and not pleasantly. (Has that ever happened to you?)
Case in point: A little less than two years ago, the nation was warned that a deadly disease was invading our country. The news predicted grim scenarios where people would be dropping like flies, and once-healthy people would fill intensive wards, gasping for their last breath. It seemed it was only a matter of time before each of us would be stricken.
The phrase “Follow the science” started being tossed around, and it sounded like a good idea. I am not a scientist, but I am married to a PhD engineer, a man who follows the science daily. And to him, “science” is data. When a dramatic story hits the news – usually something anecdotal designed to tug at our heartstrings or make us break out in a cold sweat – his response is to say coolly, “Show me the data.”
So I looked at the data early on, and I was immediately reassured to learn that this “deadly virus” had a survival rate of over 99.9%. That sounded like great news to me. I also learned that many, many people with this virus had little or no symptoms, and once they had recovered, they had natural immunity for some time. So, the available data pointed to a much better picture than what we were being presented on the nightly news.
I wanted to encourage people with the science, hoping to see looks of relief on their faces. Often, though, they would instead get visibly angry. I was accused (directly or via sarcasm) of not caring about people who were dying. Rather than being a bearer of good news, I was seen as insensitive and heartless.
For the record, I do care about those who have died or lost loved ones to the virus – I have prayed for many of them. I also care about those who have died in plane crashes, but I also know that with the millions of flights that daily reach their destination safely, the chances of dying in a plane crash are very small. Consequently, if someone next to me on a plane is visibly terrified, I will try to reassure that person that chances are excellent that we’re going to be just fine.
I haven’t tried to share statistics lately, but now that there is another item in the news that seems to be terrorizing people, I’ve got to share the good news I’ve heard.
This could even be an answer to our prayers, but are we paying attention?
There is a new “varrient” on the horizon, originating from South Africa. This varrient is reportedly spreading much faster than any of its predecessors.
[The predictable response: *instant panic!*]
But let’s mute the panic button for a moment. My husband, “show-me-the-data” Martin, was listening to a broadcast the other morning that presented all the statistics (data) from the past 24 hours, and the doctor presenting it seemed genuinely happy! Of course, I started to eavesdrop. 😉
According to “Dr. Campbell” on YouTube, this varrient has, in fact, extremely mild symptoms, if any. And the fact that it spreads so rapidly is actually a good thing! According to Dr. Campbell, at the rate the varrient is spreading and replacing the other most recent varrient, South Africa should reach herd immunity in a very short time. (Herd immunity is the state where the majority of a population has immunity to a disease.)
This is GOOD news, folks!!!
But that night on the American nightly news the anchors were, as usual, speaking in ominous tones, predicting widespread disease and more measures that might have to be taken, “for our protection.”.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been in a prayer meeting and heard someone pray for an end to the p@ndemic, … I could go to a really nice restaurant for dinner. Could it be that God is answering our prayers before our eyes, and we’re so busy panicking that we can’t even see it, much less appreciate it?
I don’t know what I can do, other than try to spread the good news, and try not to be overwhelmed with frustration at the people who angrily refuse to receive it, because they are “following the science.” (Really?)
And now, on a more important topic, here’s the BEST news of all!
God loves you! Just think, the One who created the whole universe loves and cares about you! And while the “bad news” is that we’ve all “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), making us ineligible for eternal life, God has always known we’d fall short, and He has prepared a way of escape for us!
“The wages of sin is death.” We all have earned the death penalty for the sin we’ve committed, but Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God, loved us enough to take that penalty on Himself, allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross He didn’t deserve. As Someone who is 100% innocent, His death paid for our crimes, so we can be forgiven and accepted by God and inherit eternal life! If we accept His gift, it’s ours! (Merry Christmas!)
We who follow Jesus have better things to do than live in fear (or frustration). Let’s keep spreading good news, especially the Good News. Some people may get angry with us, call us names, accuse us of anything and everything. But others may respond with joy and eagerness to accept the gift. Whether they accept or reject our message is not our responsibility. Jesus said “go and tell,” (Matthew 28:19) and we should be doing that and leaving the results to Him.
Prayer: Father, forgive us for dwelling in fear and complaints. You have given us the gift of life, and even more, the gift of Your life, to save our souls. May we not waste another moment wallowing in the lies of the enemy. Help us to spend our lives reveling in and sharing the Good News of Your love, in Jesus’ name, amen.