Seth Udinski, FISM News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is once again encouraging Americans to wear masks in public, citing an uptick in what experts are deeming a “tripledemic.”
The melodramatic term is being used by many media outlets to describe a rise in the reported cases of COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory syntactical virus (RSV).
[We] encourage you to wear a high quality, well-fitting mask to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, most especially for those in the 5% of the population currently living in counties with high COVID-19 community level. [The] CDC continues to recommend masking for anyone choosing to travel by plane, train, bus, or other form of public transportation, or for anyone who may be immunocompromised or increased risk of severe disease.
Many health professionals are echoing the CDC’s newest recommendation. Los Angeles County director of public health Barabar Ferrer said,
When you put on your mask for these few weeks during this surge, it is about the people of LA County. It is about every individual, every visitor, our health care workers, essential workers and other people who serve. In addition to vaccination, it is one of the easiest things everyone can do right now.
It should be noted that the CDC is merely making a recommendation and has not issued any mandates as of yet.
Author’s Biblical Analysis
Before we consider the biblical implications of this report, it is important for Christians to remember two things.
First, there is nothing inherently sinful in wearing a mask for medical protection. For some, it may be necessary to protect them from exposure, especially if they have a preexisting health condition. Even for those not in that category, it is not a sin to wear a mask to try to protect oneself from becoming sick.
Second, there is equally nothing inherently sinful in not wearing a mask. For some, it may be more difficult to breathe with a mask inhibiting their breath, and others have simply decided to not wear a mask because they have come to the conclusion that any increased risk of illness simply does not outweigh the reward of having their face uncovered.
It is a good reminder for Christians to call sin what it is, and avoid labeling things as “sinful” that are not actually sinful.
With that reminder, our encouragement for today is this – Do not live in fear.
I believe that far too many Americans have, partially as a result of extreme COVID-19 measures in 2020 and beyond, become overly fearful to a point where they hyper-focus on potential threats around them and ignore all the good gifts of grace they’ve been given.
While we have been called to be good stewards of our bodies, each person must make informed, prayerful decisions on where and to what degree one should exercise caution.
Believer, we live in a world that is marred by sin, therefore, the threat of sickness, bodily injury, relational strife, discord, disagreements, and even death itself is always imminent. If we lived this life constantly worried about our mortality while trying to protect ourselves from every possible harm, it would not only steal our joy but would place us in bondage to fear.
The Bible, meanwhile, continually tells us that we should not live in fear because our hope is not placed in this world. ( Josh. 1:9, Matt. 6:34, Psalm 23:4, Isa. 43:1)
I will be transparent for just a moment. Several weeks ago, my infant son came down with one of the dreaded “tripledemic” illnesses, RSV. He was sick for roughly a whole month with various coughing fits, high temperatures, and a constant stuffy nose which resulted in many sleepless nights for me and my wife. We even spent a day in the pediatric hospital. It was, for him, far worse than his bout with COVID-19 earlier this year.
My son has since recovered, and we praise God that He kept our little boy safe. But still, it was, at times, greatly fear-inducing for me and my wife.
I say this to simply remind you that I get it. I am preaching these truths to myself as much as you! The fear of bad things happening to us and those we love is real and potent. I feel it as much as you do.
But friends – Fear is not from God.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 1 Timothy 1:7
Fearmongering is one of the most sinister tactics the enemy uses to get our focus off of God. When we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on the troubles around us, we get so easily swept up in anxiety and fear and we believe our troubles are more potent than they truly are.
I mean this is no way to say that we do not experience real hardship, real pain, and real suffering. But if you know and love Jesus Christ, I ask you, what do you have to fear?
If we live, we get to live for Christ and serve Christ, while also enjoying the lesser graces He gives us. If we experience persecution, we get to partake in the sufferings of Christ, and He calls us “blessed” (Matthew 5:10). If we experience hardships and sufferings of other kinds, we are promised that God is near to us (Psalm 34:18). And more important – if we die, we will immediately be in the presence of God, free from all pain and suffering and hardship and worry. What could be better than that?
If you belong to Jesus Christ, you have nothing to fear. Let that be both a calming anchor for your soul and fuel for the fire of a tenacious mission to spread the gospel to all, without fear or worry.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21