Shall we focus on life or on death?

By: Steve Huston

What would C.S. Lewis say to us in the 21st century as we face the COVID-19 pandemic?  Very likely the same thing that he said to his contemporaries in the 20th century as they were concerned about the new dangers that faced them with the invention of the atomic bomb.

Regardless of what form the threats to our well-being take, they are temporary and they will pass. Before too long another enemy will threaten our life, another disease will prey upon our bodies, or some other danger will press upon our minds as though it were larger than life itself. These things aren’t said to belittle their impact upon us; rather, it’s to put them in perspective. They come and they go; mankind is left to move on. God remains sovereign and will use what He will to get our attention.

Before I continue, here is that aforementioned C.S. Lewis quote. (Ironically, it not only deals with the atomic bomb but “a microbe”—or virus—as well.)

Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

Basically, C.S. Lewis is saying that death is a certainty, for some it may be imminent; but let us focus on life and living; let us reach out to others in whatever ways we can.

For the Christian, the Apostle Paul says: “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2) And “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8)

In other words, set your eyes on Jesus and set your mind on Him too. Why? Because “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

While we don’t go around with our heads in the sand pretending that there are no troubles that affect us, neither do we “huddle together (or separately at least six feet apart) like frightened sheep” focused only on what might kill us. This is an opportunity to focus on life, sharing the wonderful grace of God and the gospel of Jesus—who IS the way, the truth, and the LIFE. This is a time for us to share the joy of salvation because, praise God, this world is NOT our home.

Pray, love God with all that you are, live life, and keep looking unto Jesus!

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