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By Myrtle Virginia Thompson
It was about 400 years ago our country — this land in which we are now living — was settled with its first European immigrants.
A reminder of our own country’s history surfaced as I was studying the Scriptures, both God’s talk with Abraham about a future “400-year” event (Genesis 15) and the last prophetic messages about the demise of Israel in the accounts of Zechariah and Malachi. Their nation had broken apart, no longer the people to whom God had made promises. Psalm 137 records their sorrowful, distraught condition. There would be no further word from God for 400 years and the advent of Jesus in the New Testament.
There seemed to be something here worth further reflection. Was there a lesson for our times? Desperate people are on the move today. Fear and depression are reportedly two well-known concerns.
Two years after we first heard the word, Covid still dominates the news. It’s as though nothing in the past has ever been comparable. The young see it through the lens of the worst thing that could happen to us. At my age, 93, I see it differently. I understand it is bad, but will we allow Covid to capture and enslave us like a foreign power’s army did to Israel?
In this case, Covid is an entity we can’t see, controlling our minds and that of our leadership. There seems no recourse for disagreement. We must comply with rules set out or be outcasts. It begs the question, is it really the worst thing that could happen to us? Certainly not. There have been other more notable painful times right from the beginning of our 400 years of American history.
Shortly after the first fears of Covid began to take hold, I experienced a loss of vision. I had to get new glasses and use a magnifying glass to read fine print. Following that, I had a sudden hearing loss. The two have taken a toll on everything in my life. I deal with a monthly shot in my eye to prevent total blindness. Not being able to clearly hear means I often ask, “What was that? I can’t hear you,” both embarrassing as well as irritating. We may chalk it up to age, a part of growing older, but when these experiences are as sudden as a Covid attack, we view them through a different lens. It becomes how we deal with life.
Since Covid, we are a changed people. Our lives and much of our livelihood has been turned around. “Normalcy” and “We can get through this” are meant to give hope, but the way back has been closed off. We must now see these changing times from a different outpost. In the not-too-distant past, we tried to look ahead for the sake of our families. Solomon believed it was age that brings wisdom. Family life today is under attack. Worshiping often is considered non-essential. Will children grow up as masked individuals? What does that do for a society that believed in freedom?
The Jewish people were moved out of their land and suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually. We who have been privileged to have a long life know something about dark hours. Like Esther and Daniel of the Old Testament, we found light to move ahead through the eyes of faith in a God Who has been faithful. Peace and freedom for the upcoming generation must be our priority. Filthy language, killings, adverse opinions, self-centeredness, attacks which divide us, even denying the God Who gave us this land — all these carry a worse penalty than Covid.
We have so much for which to be grateful. We need a “campaign” to remind us to be faith-full. We must not destroy our heritage.
We can learn from what Israel experienced or reject it. Four hundred years after Malachi was written, Jesus came. He was able to give new life. It is still God’s gift to us. We can trust Him for whatever the future holds.
Myrtle V. Thompson, 93, is a retired missionary, Bible teacher, educator and writer. Contact her at [email protected]
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