Comfort When Comfort is Needed
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
From the Desk of Pastor Doug Lucy
March 24, 2020
In this life that we live, it isn’t easy to see something that nobody you know has ever seen before. I used to get a kick out of my kids. They come in from school and tell me something that they cooked up and it was so often, yep, did that same thing when I was your age. It isn’t new, it’s just recycled. Same with jokes, movies, TV shows, music and just about everything I can think of. I once read that about 1% of all our thoughts are new. I also know that 89.78% of statistics are made up on the spot, but I digress. There is so much out there and so little of it is new. We’ve seen it, heard it, watched it, read it or tasted it before. That’s why I think this World Pandemic has everyone so frustrated, anxious, scared or, in worst case, hysterical.
The last global pandemic came in 1918. The world was boiling. WW1 was winding down. People were focused on what was going on there and suddenly, it turned out the enemy, the real enemy of 1918 wasn’t in the trenches of war, it was brewing somewhere waiting to wreak havoc on the earth. According to the CDC it’s estimated that at least 50,000,000 people died. Almost 700,000 Americans. Nobody that I can find can tell me what that was like except through statistics and anecdotal stories. No one has said, I remember in 1918… And all that unknow scares us. Statistics are cold and hard and can tell about whatever story their user wants told. They aren’t comforting and all we can think of is “the last global pandemic was apocalyptic”. Okay, fast forward to today.
Here’s what we know. Nobody we know (okay, it’s possible someone knows somebody that about 103) have been there, but if they tell you they remember, don’t buy it. That puts us out here with a brand-new virus, a horrible story of a pandemic from 1918 and nothing that will give us any real solid comfort. Or, is there?
I went to the Biblegateway.com website and typed comfort into the search box. I was paid off with just less than 80 places in scripture where comfort is spoken of. The number bumps up if you add comforter or comforted. But that is the tip of a really big ice burg. Read the Psalm. David speaks often of the comfort of the Father without using the word comfort. My favorite of those is Psalm 91. I’ve read it over and again but it this week it shouted out my name. If you saw a video I posted on Facebook, you know. First, a young man who reached out to me from Haiti, Paulime O. sent it to me. Then, after spending most of a week thinking it over, it was given as a favorite Psalm of a Saint who has gone home. Psalm 91:1 says, 1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
Those are the words that I am resting on to find comfort in a time that no one can remember being in before. I’m not afraid of the virus. I don’t want to be sick, not as a 58-year-old hypertensive diabetic with 3 stents in my right coronary artery who is on immunosuppressive drugs for RA. But I’m not scared of the virus. I am a bit unnerved by the uncertainty of the future. How long will I be ordered in at home? When can I assemble our congregation back together? When can I shake a hand or give a hug to someone who needs a hug? When will I be able to buy toilet paper again? All questions that I don’t have an answer to. What does life look like on the other side of this pandemic? I think naïve and perhaps foolish to think it won’t and maybe shouldn’t look the same as it did before. And I’m a little scared for some of my friends and family. I need comforted and I find my comfort in the Lord.