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Tinsley column: True treasures revealed during the COVID crisis

Bill Tinsley
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A week ago, my wife and I went for a walk keeping our 6-foot distance from others. Two children rode up on their bikes, a brother and sister ages 8 and 6. They asked us to come to their house so we could play with them. When we stopped at our daughter’s house, our granddaughter drew blue circles in the street with sidewalk chalk 6 feet apart so we could visit. Their neighbor asked me if I had ever seen anything like the COVID-19 crisis that we are experiencing. I said, “No, I am only 73.”

This is unique in our lifetime. We have never seen Americans encouraged, if not ordered, to stay in their houses and isolate themselves from their neighbors.

Silence has settled over the earth. Gone are the roars of the crowd from baseball stadiums in America and soccer stadiums in Europe. Arenas stand starkly empty and quiet where amplifiers vibrated the air and tens of thousands danced and sang. Churches are vacant, amplifiers and organs silent. Children’s laughter has vanished from playgrounds and parks, replaced by a whispering wind and an occasional bird. Waves wash up on empty beaches closed to tourists and residents alike.

We believe a better day will come. But now we need the love of another human being, a smile, an embrace, a kiss on the cheek. Now, more than ever, we need to know God’s love. We have been shocked to discover how fragile our lives are, not just for the aged and infirm, but for all of us, for the entire human race. For China, Iran, India, South Korea, Italy, Spain, France, the UK and us. This is global. We are faced with a stark reminder that we are all human and we are all mortal.

Previous generations walked where we walk and discovered what we need to discover: that even death cannot separate us from God’s love. David wrote, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13-18).

While most of us expect to survive this crisis and look forward to resuming life as we knew it, there are thousands who will lose loved ones. Their stories are heart-rending. Thousands are dying in isolation, their families unable to comfort them or gather for their funeral. It took one month for the first 1,000 to die. Two days for that number to double. I have no idea what the numbers will be when you read this. At the same time stories of kindness, thoughtfulness and sacrifice abound.

We have an opportunity to listen, to embrace God’s lovingkindness demonstrated in Scripture through the life of His Son. We have the opportunity to emerge on the other side with appreciation for the true treasures we have taken for granted: the laughter of children playing on the playgrounds, dinner at the table with neighbors and friends, assembly in churches for worship, congregational singing, hugs and kisses.

The whole world has been connected through common suffering and loss. We have been reminded that every single human life is important. Every human being needs God. He will never leave us nor forsake us. His love is everlasting.

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.