If we listen to the media shapers, 2009 will be regarded as one of the most historic years in all of mankind on many levels. Some of the biggies that come to mind are the economic collapse/panic that gripped the world, the unprecedented financial spending by Washington on bailouts and stimuli packages, the election of our countries first non-Caucasian president and his Nobel prize after weeks in office, Congress and the President attempting radical policy changes despite the protests of constituents, the circus surrounding Michael Jackson’s death, the comeback of Lance Armstrong (wait that only matters to a niche group of lycra wearing geeks) and certainly the pandemic fear of Swine Flu (I just won’t participate in the conspiracy to call it H1N1).
It’s the last one that has me thinking about how we’ve responded to this global pandemic and health crisis. Most of us have had a case of the flu and for the most part have come through it fine. Some just tough it out, while others have used a short course of antibiotics to help their immune systems fight it off. Historically we’ve never thought of the flu as a dire, life and death menace that required consistent changes in our daily lives. In fact, the CDC estimates that annually influenza kills over 30,000 US citizens yet I can’t recall major changes happening across society. Not so with the frenzy surrounding Swine Flu in 2009. It made headlines around the globe, had special live coverage of the World Health Organization press conference (I can’t believe I actually watched it while traveling for work), even Elmo got involved with a public service announcement! The behavioral changes are everywhere; people coughing into elbows, grown men singing Happy Birthday while washing their hands, fist bumps instead of hand-shakes, face masks on air planes and the ever present hand sanitizer. One month ago I attended a trade show at McCormack Place and the alcohol based things were everywhere. I passed a gauntlet of them in the hallway leading to the convention floor, they were at the sample stations in every booth (including ours), they were being handed out with company logos on them (the hottest category of company merchandising in 2009), in bathrooms, in hotel lobbies and I think I saw one in a cab!
Do we take our spiritual health as seriously as we take this recent physical threat? Are we more concerned with the body and potential death than for their spiritual life? Where’s the public service announcement warning us to take care and precaution with our hearts, minds and souls? We know that won’t happen, but I think God has given us sanitizers for our spiritual life. The two that most quickly come to mind are the Bible and prayer. I have begun to read Scripture every morning as a way to make time for that part of my spiritual health routine. Followed with a brief prayer I feel better protected to start my day and ward off life’s impurities (Ephesians 6:12-18 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness…18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints:). I can’t control all that I’m exposed to in a day, but that’s the beauty of prayer sanitizer. I can access that whenever I’ve been exposed to life’s germs or I’ve exposed someone else to my sickness. We all seem to spend a lot more time on the computer and must realize that the flu strains that exist on-line are immense and more deadly than we can imagine. I won’t list them, but we know that perversions live a mere mouse click away. Again, the cleansing power of God’s Word is also just a mouse click away in those moments of need! I am trying to make it a habit that my first stop on-line is to read a daily devotional from my e-mail. This starts my on-line day off with God at the forefront of my mind. Certainly prayer is also close at hand when spending time in the virtual world. What better ways to disinfect ourselves of the contaminations that we come in contact with daily than regular use of these beautiful sanitizers that God has provided for the health our hearts, souls and minds?
by Lance Maylath