Well, I’ll preface this post by saying I know a lot of you won’t like it at all. Matter of fact, I’m well aware that it may cost me a nice chunk of followers.
But as I’ve always said, in this space, where I have the privilege of writing my words for the world to see, I will always do it with honesty, and from the heart. And with this health crisis the world is facing today, one thing has been weighing heavily on my heart today more than others.
We’ve all been put under a soft quarantine of sorts. Advised by medical experts, health organizations, and the government to adhere to certain guidelines regarding social distancing.
Some of you still think the whole thing is a hoax. Some of you believe it’s real but think it isn’t serious. Some of you are taking it seriously and are being cautious while being careful not to become overly fearful. And some of you are in a straight up panic.
Regardless of where you fall on that list, one thing is clear.
This thing is real. Those sick people actually exist. And there’s more than we will probably ever know because of the lack of testing and the fact that a large majority of people have mild to no symptoms. I’m not sure we will ever truly know the scale of this pandemic. But one thing is sure. For many, this has been or will be deadly, and/or life altering.
I’ve been as guilty as the rest of you in these early days. I’ve gone out into crowds and exposed myself and my loved ones unnecessarily. I believed it wasn’t as bad as it was being made out to be. But now, having seen and heard the testimony of countless others that are in the hot zones, I for one, will be taking it seriously.
For all of you that are brushing this off and looking the other way, I ask you to do your own research. Find the stories of the people in the hot zones. Where just two weeks ago, they were like us. Pretending it wasn’t that big of deal. Continuing to gather at parties and concerts and churches. And now, they are paying the price. Something that could have been a few weeks inconvenience if they had all followed the instructions and the guidelines to restrict contact, could have been avoided. Now there are mandatory quarantines in place. And people are sick and dying and there are not enough medical resources to help them all.
People are dying.
Some of you will say I’m just being another fear mongerer. I can assure that is far from the truth.
I am not afraid. But I am concerned. Concerned that the restaurants are still full. Concerned that the churches are still opening their doors and encouraging their people to come.
Faith over fear, they say.
It is true, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but he has given us a sound mind, and I dare say He expects us to use it.
I ask you, pastors and church leaders, if your church was suddenly infested with poisonous insects or snakes, would you encourage your members to come anyway, and just trust that God will protect them? Because this, opening your doors and not following the guidelines for social distancing and encouraging them to gather together in droves, well… you may as well hand out the snakes.
Yep. I said it.
On some posts I saw people asking what message it would send for churches to not gather in this time of crisis, and that they needed to proclaim their faith. I ask that you consider what message you’re actually sending by encouraging them to come and by using faith as a catalyst for your cause. By saying that we must ignore the urgings of our experts and leaders, you are saying that we shouldn’t respect those that have been given authority over us for one.
But most importantly, when you say things like “we have great faith and won’t give in to fear and our church members are covered by the blood of Jesus”, it insinuates to all the people that are sick, all those people in Italy and other places and even here on our own soil that have fallen ill or died, that their faith must not have been as strong as yours. It speaks to them that maybe God just didn’t love them as much.
Because they went out. Just like you. They went to their churches. Just like you. So to say that you are protected while they weren’t, that is not a message of love, and certainly not one I believe Jesus would approve of.
I can 100% guarantee you that although my family stayed home from church today, our faith is no smaller than yours. I have seen God pull us out of many a desperate circumstance, this y’all know. I have seen Him give breath to my firstborn that was by the doctors account all but dead in my belly. I have seen the miracles He is capable of. And I know that should He see fit, He could wipe this virus out with a wave of His hand. But I also know that is not always how He works. I know that sometimes in this world, bad things happen to good people. Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. And I know that in times like this, we have to trust Him, but also be smart and make wise decisions, and not put others at risk because of our own stubbornness.
So I dare say that it is not your faith that is bigger than the rest of us, but that maybe you might consider the thing that is bigger starts with an E and ends with a go.
Yep. I said it. And I just made a bunch of you real mad.
I’m not trying to call anyone out, or make anyone angry. All I’m asking is that you search your hearts. Ask yourselves if you are truly serving the best interests of your people or if maybe you’re just a little bit afraid that if the people can’t physically come to your building, they might miss a tithe or two.
Did I just say that out loud? Oops.
Yep. I told y’all I was probably gonna ruffle some feathers.
Sorry not sorry, I guess?
Truly, I love y’all. All of you. And I don’t want to lose a single one of you to this illness. So I don’t come here to make you angry, but to hopefully make you contemplate thoughtfully your steps moving forward. Maybe this virus won’t affect you or your children. But maybe that person you hugged at church today visits their elderly parent at the nursing home later and unknowingly passed it to them, and guess what? That’s on you. Do you want to be responsible for that?
Jeff is a nurse. So his work can’t be avoided, and I just pray that this thing slows down and he and all his coworkers don’t have to experience choosing who gets a respirator and who doesn’t like they are having to do overseas. And I pray for his protection and for all the doctors, nurses and first responders.
Right now, my office will stay open. But there may come a time that we have to close either due to lack of supplies or simply for the safety of our staff and patients. Will going without a paycheck be hard if it comes to that? Absolutely. But it may become necessary to stop the spread. And if it does, we will have to rely on that faith we spoke of earlier.
So starting today, my family will avoid crowded places. We will stay home except for required work and a trip to the store when needed.
We took our parents some supplies and asked them not to go out for anything unnecessary. None of us kids or grandkids will be visiting them until it is safer to do so. We will talk to them by phone or text or FaceTime and I encourage all of you to do the same with your older loved ones to avoid possibly exposing them as much as possible.
If we need to get out, We will go on hikes or go fishing or for a walk. But mostly we will stay home, which is the only way to best protect everyone and ensure that this is over sooner rather than later and doesn’t blow up all at once to the point we don’t have adequate medical care. We are gonna do our part, because it’s the right thing to do.
Church is not a building. There are thousands of services online. Bible studies and life groups can be turned into Facebook groups. When the Bible states where 2 or more or gathered , He is there, it doesn’t mean we have to all be in the same building. When we all join our hearts in sincere and fervent prayer to the Father, we are gathered together. When we worship from our homes, He hears our praises just as well as He does from a church building.
I truly believe with all my heart that God would not encourage you to put yourselves and others at risk. There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t all do our part to try to get this thing in check. We need to make the right choices now, in order to avoid the choices being made for us later.
You may say faith over fear, but I say
LOVE OVER EVERYTHING.
We must have both faith and love, but God says that we should have love, above all else.
Faith is trusting that God will be present, and carry us through even the darkest of days.
Love is making wise decisions to protect the lives of His people.
So be that.
Amy Thurston Gordy