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James R. Stout

It's Going To Be Ok

            All I can say is “wow”. Well, that really isn’t all I can say. But you knew that. I’m half a year away from being 65-years-old. I’ve lived through quite a bit in my life. Some really great times and some really not-so-great times. When I was 18 the Arab oil embargo hit America. I sat in one long line to get gas, but the only thing that really happened was the price of gas doubled. In 1979 we experienced a gas shortage that lasted about two or three weeks. I sat in some long gas lines that time, but nothing terrible. The price of gas was still below $1 a gallon. Later that same year we all sat in front of our TV’s and watched the Iranian hostage drama unfold. We all briefly worried about a war, but for most of those 440 days that our fellow Americans were held hostage, the majority of us here at home simply went about our normal lives.

            The early to mid-80’s saw us concerned about a new virus that was mainly affecting homosexuals at the time. But we worried about the blood supply being tainted and for some that became all too real. But for most of us we just went about our normal lives. In 1987, there was a stock market crash. I knew a few people affected by it, but for most of the people that I knew it didn’t mean much. None of us had money in the market to begin with. Life continued onward. For a couple of years prior to the millennium we were told that at the stroke of midnight on 1-1-2000 the world might end. The Y2K scare had us backing up our computers and some people went out and bought batteries and bottled water. But the new millennium came and went, and nothing happened.

            Then there was 9-11. That was indeed a scary day and a few weeks that followed. It would eventually usher in a war that most of us weren’t affected by. It did usher in some new laws that have affected our lives, but those are mostly inconveniences such as going through the airport checks. I don’t fly though, so it doesn’t affect me at all. I haven’t been on a plane since 2005 and those changes weren’t in affect yet.

            In 2008 we had another stock market event. But it didn’t really touch everyone’s lives in a great way or for very long. We’ve been through so many scares, many of them manufactured by unseen entities. Going back to my childhood we had Vietnam. It was a horrible war and too many of our young men lost their lives or were forever affected by it. But the truth is that most of us at home weren’t affected on a daily basis by that war. Families still went on vacations, bought new homes, bought new cars, had plenty to eat, and we actually had one great by-product. Some great music. Yes, me and my fellow classmates in elementary school had drills at school that were supposed to save us if the Russians dropped some A-bombs on us. But it was mostly a welcome interruption in class, and I don’t recall anyone getting upset over it.

            When I was 8-years-old JFK was assassinated. We all worried for a couple of months that it would lead to something worse. But all it took was 4 young men from Liverpool, England to sing those worries out of our heads. Through all of those years and all of those events my life was pretty much like anyone else’s life. I grew up and dated girls, owned a car, got married, had two kids, went to college, and eventually spent 25 years working in a job that was unfulfilling, but paid the rent and a few extras. As I grew older my body did like anyone’s body does that grows older. Things stopped working or hurt or caused me to have to change some of my ways of living.

            So, here we are in March of 2020 and for the first time in my life I’m seeing something and experiencing something that none of those other things came close to. The Coronavirus pandemic has truly interrupted everyone’s lives. Some people seem to have lost any good sense that they might have once had. How bad are their bowels to need all that toilet paper? But seriously, there are some unprecedented things going on now. Public gatherings canceled. Not only sporting events, schools, businesses, and restaurants have been canceled or postponed, but our places of worship are also closing in some cases. While they will have services online if they are set-up for that, the fact is worshipping God together is currently not a corporate worship. Meanwhile, we’re all worrying about getting the virus. If I turn on the news all I see is doom and gloom over the virus. Perhaps the most disturbing reports pertinent to me personally is when they tell us that people over 60 or with chronic illnesses are hit the hardest. Well, I have diabetes. It’s under control now, but if I got that virus what would happen? And we don’t have a clue how bad this is going to get.

            Well, I for one have decided to put it in God’s hands. I’m just not going to let it make me sick simply by its existence. I’ll take precautions that I should, and I’ll be careful, but in the end, I trust God to see me through. If I somehow or other catch this thing, then I trust God to see me through. And if I should die from it? Then I’ll be in the presence of God where I will never again get sick, or know sorrow, or know despair, or know worry, or have pain. Are you secure in this as well? I truly hope so. If you aren’t, but want to, then feel free to message me and I’ll be more than happy to tell you how. I’m not going to tell you to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” because that would be disingenuous. But there is a way to be happy despite this dilemma we currently face. Trust me on this.



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