No, this is not one of those lectures on the idea the God has sent Ebola as some plague upon people of this or that country. In saying “Ebola or God” I am more interested in peoples’ response to one and not the other.
Fear, if not panic, in many cases is the word for multitudes of people concerning Ebola. Living in the DFW area where the first reported cases of Ebola in the United States occurred has left most of us wondering if there is any other news in the world, since that seems to have taken up 25 of the 30 minute news’ broadcasts every night. Social media certainly hasn’t helped because everyone, myself included by the writing of the letter, has had an opinion they felt they had to share about Ebola. Some are educated opinions and many opinions backed more by hysteria.
Ebola is deadly, there is no doubt about it. But, as we also know so are many other threats which account for the loss of many lives every year. Ebola has claimed one person in the U.S. Everyone else that was infected, all 2 of them, are improving. Using data going back to September 7 of this year, at that time around the world, Ebola had claimed 2,218 lives. In comparison at that point: HIV/Aids 1.6 million, TB 1.3 million, Pneumonia 1.1 million, Infectious Diarrhea – 760,000 children under the age of 5. (1) The year 2010 was a down year for Ebola, there were actually no deaths at all that year. On the other hand, “About 10 million people around the world died of communicable diseases in 2010, the most recent year for which fully comparable international figures are available.”(2) Will Ebola get worse? Quite possibly. Should we also be concerned about these noted and other deadly communicable diseases? Certainly.
Where is God in all of this? He’s not, and that’s my point. First the fear concerning diseases needs to be countered with a good dose of prayer, alongside the antibiotics, bleach, masks and rubber gloves. Then I want folks to remember what really should cause fear. Yes, people are dying from these horrible contagions and we are so attentive and concerned perhaps even fearful. But, what happened to the fear of God.
If you really want to show concern, consider the 150,000 people who die every day around the world from whatever the cause, and then ask yourself “Did they know Jesus?” Let’s keep fear in perspective. Fear and love of God is what we as Christians should have more focus on. I hear more Christians worried about people dying from Ebola, than ever talking about people dying in sin who do not have a relationship with Christ. I see Christians everywhere taking precautions not to get sick, using hand sanitizers, not visiting the sick, not flying, or not doing this, that and the other to avoid getting sick. But, then they are also not attending church, not reading the Bible, not going to Sunday school, not telling their neighbor about Jesus. People have developed more fear of worldly sicknesses than of God. They certainly pay diseases more attention. They are more involved with school, with work, with play, with self, with everything than they are with God, His church and His mission and ministry.
How have so many Christians forgotten to FEAR, LOVE and TRUST God above all things? Why are people not running to get to church, to pray, to witness to their neighbor? Why isn’t our relationship with God taking up at least 25 of 30 minutes (or wishfully more) of our day as do other things that get our attention? Where is our fear, and what have we taken for granted? Ebola or God? That is my question.