An evil day seems to bring out the worst in human nature, even the nonsensical. Ironically enough, ‘toilet-paper tussles’ have been the embarrassing embodiment of Australia’s initial reaction to Coronavirus.
This behaviour may also be a scary omen of how bad things might get - in a word: ‘crap’, not to mention downright nasty.
A knee-jerk dilemma
While mostly funny and a little sad at present, visuals of ‘toilet-paper tussles’ do present an interesting dilemma: How much will coronavirus affect our everyday lives? How should we prep for a new reality that may be with us for at least the foreseeable future?
In these times, it’s easy for the ‘toilet-paper’ element of human nature to take over. Selfishness, fear, and anger tend to be our knee-jerk responses whenever our own lives or those of our loved ones are threatened.
While understandable, those responses are anything but helpful. Panic and extreme selfishness tend to work against the very thing they try to secure because they ignore or even harm others in the name of their own good.
Blame games also don’t help; our poor old ‘pollies’ always seem to get lambasted. Neither does extreme emotionalism or denial--yes, coronavirus is likely not the end of the world, it’s also likely some practical and spiritual adjustments will soon be necessary.
Practical prep seems like common sense but it doesn’t hurt to take stock. First income: do we have a savings account? 49% of Australians have less than $10,000 in savings (Jolly, August 6th). It’s likely the ‘good times’ plus 29 years without a recession have contributed to building a national mindset where savings are seen as expendable.
Building our savings, cutting back on luxury items, and being wise in how and what we invest may prove crucial. On the other end of the spectrum, overt belt-tightening may put undue strain on the nation’s economy and industry. A healthy balance is called for.
It may be tough to imagine food shortages in the West, but trade with certain hard-hit countries like China has already become problematic and is likely to get worse. Stocking a small supply of basic necessities can’t hurt, especially as price hikes and rarity of certain goods and services may become the new norm. It may also help if we ourselves have to short-term self-isolate at some point in the future if we contract the virus.
Knowing the symptoms like fever, respiratory problems, and other flu-like symptoms (A.D.G.H., March 7th) and risk factors will always be half the battle in this fight. Basic hygiene, hand washing and following our government’s social distancing guidelines and rules for avoiding large gatherings is essential, and could be the difference between life and death for many in the days ahead.
While some practical prep is good sense and will be extremely important for our physical welfare, spiritual preparation is by far our best hope of security. When practical help fails from others and from what we ourselves can own or acquire, there’s only one source that’s unshakable: God. Unfortunately it seems many only turn to God in troubled times, or when it’s too late. We can at least avoid the latter now.
The most important prep is to have a right relationship with God. The Bible says we’ve all failed to do this properly. First we need to ask forgiveness for the wrong we’ve done in our lives, then trust that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to gain God’s acceptance. He took the punishment we deserved on the cross, and now lives again and wants to reconcile us to himself.
Believing in God and trusting Jesus to save us means God will look after us in the days ahead, and never leave us through the hardest times. It doesn’t mean we’ll always escape trouble, but God promises to be with us through everything.
Once we know God the Bible says we can also call on him in times of need:
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm chapter 34 verse 4
When we do this, we’re given a good promise:
Call on me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you.
Psalm chapter 50 verse 15
We now live in a world which believes if it worries enough and is smarter and stronger than the average Joe, it can Outwit, Outlast and Outplay any trouble. But make no mistake, Coronavirus is not TV’s Survivor game; playing with fate takes our lives into our own hands. They’re much safer in God’s, and he loves us enough to give us fair warning and encouragement, so let’s accept his love, seek his protection, and give our lives to him today.
Tim is a high school teacher in Queensland and just finished a season being a youth pastor in America. He has a passion for the gospel and for seeing lives changed by the power, person and love of Jesus Christ.
Tim Price’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-price.html