The World Health Organization has declared this latest coronavirus a pandemic. This directly affects life for all of us to some degree.
At first it was a sad development in far-away China, where sickness and death rapidly spread. Then it moved to South Korea, Iran, Italy, and other countries. Infections and death rapidly followed. Sad — but for many of us, still distant.
Then it arrived in North America and things started to get close to home. Financial markets suffered, schools and churches closed, and panic buying of items such as toilet paper occurred.
It really hit home to so many when even sports activities were shut down. Many people follow sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer, and hockey.
This became really serious when the possibility arose that the Stanley Cup Final may not be played for the first time in over a century. The last time that occurred was in 1919 as a result of the infamous Spanish Flu outbreak.
In the midst of such uncertainty, my neighbour, Peter, put a sign on his door that said:
“The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hand will stop
At late or early hour
Now is the only time you own
Live, love, and toil with a will
Place no faith in tomorrow
For the clock may then be still.”
It certainly made me think. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:16 NLT) As I write this and as you read this, our clocks are still running. I am therefore challenged to follow the direction given by our Lord:
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)
God is certainly present despite the threat of COVID-19. Our opportunities to be kind to others may be limited. Or they may simply be by staying at a distance and not interacting in normal ways.
In any event, the fragility of life as set out in The clock of life reminds us that now is the time for action. May we each respond as Paul teaches us:
“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV)
Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You that You are still in control, even in, and particularly in, these troubled times. As You have given us time, may we take action to follow You and share Your love with others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission