This will be the first Easter/Firstfruits season in world history where most Christians are not going to be in church for services due to the global pandemic. Wow, what a thought! Perhaps that thought gives perspective as to what is underway in our world today. We are living in dramatic times like no other...but we all know that.
Right now, many of us are staying home and trying to comply with our government's restrictions wherever we live. If you're like me, you have probably listened to a lot of media...maybe too much! It is very hard to know what is really happening out there based on a variety of media reports. I think the greatest area of fear and confusion comes from the wide range of possible statistics as to what is going to happen being given out by a variety of people who claim to be "experts". One of the statistics that has made me think twice is the idea that this pandemic might kill over 2,200,000 Americans. However, at the same time, people sharing that grim statistic say it may also be less than 100,000. What a difference! How do we know what to believe? What is true? On the one hand, we might not be able to handle the body count and on the other hand the numbers would be a little more than a bad flu season. It might shock people to realize there were 646,000 deaths from the flu in the world last year and nothing was said. As of today, there are only 42,261 deaths from the coronavirus around the world, with 3,900 deaths here in America. But again, whatever the numbers, what do such statistics really tell us about what is really going on or the future of this pandemic?
With this wide range of statistics floating around, it seems that the public is living somewhere between outright sheer panic about the future and a measured sense of loss from living in a broken and fallen world where death happens every year from the flu. It just seems to depend on what statistics you believe and right now those figures are all over the place. Perhaps we will never know the truth about this pandemic until it is finally over and that may be a while. Until then, we all are in for a wild ride of emotions and uncertainty that has brought life as we know it to a standstill.
All of this leads to an obvious problem for everyone. We can't build our lives on statistics, no matter the source. We can't live our lives based on the latest statistical report about how many people have died or how many may or may not die. Those possible future statistics really don't mean anything because they are always based on human presuppositions and often our presuppositions are wrong. As a case in point, do you remember some of the projections, statistics and models about climate change that large numbers of people have believed and still do? According to some of them, Florida should already be underwater by now. That was the prediction about a variety of climate issues many years ago that still drive the thinking of many. For them we only have a short time to save the world and we better get busy...because someday they will be right and it will be too late. But the fact that people are often wrong about such issues should humble all of us, whatever our views, about every human statistic, model and prediction. Human beings are not the Lord and we can't know the future. If we are honest, we don't even know what will happen tomorrow and that is a good thing. That is why our Lord Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow in Matthew 6:34. Only the Lord holds tomorrow in His Hands and for that we can rejoice and be at peace each day.
The most important thing for all of us to do right now is to let the Lord begin to define our reality and lives with certainty, not guesses or human models that are often wrong. The only absolutely, certain statistics the Lord wants us to know about are found in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. In that passage the Apostle tells us,
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
The Apostle Paul tells us here that everyone in this world is connected to Adam and shares in Adam's sin. The Lord told Adam in Genesis 2 and 3 that sin would lead to death...and it did. So, the shocking statistic that came out of the Garden was that 1 out of 1 people in this world die. That is something that is 100% certain. And sure enough, that statistic is totally right! Everywhere we look today that statistic is being born out from empirical data from every corner of the world. As a matter of fact, 150,000 people will die today just because they are related to Adam's sin. So, when you consider that only 42,261 people have died to date from coronavirus in the entire world, we realize that this pandemic is a small issue compared to what is happening every day from the 100% certainty of death itself, an issue that has totally escaped the media's scrutiny in this season of fear and panic. That unreported statistic means the healthiest and oldest person on earth still dies and almost no one is panicked about that issue coming their way. As a matter of fact, when a very old person dies at well over 100 years of age, people find it a blessing to see such a long life...BUT somehow people still forget that the end of the storyline is still death...100% of the time.
The Apostle Paul continues his message in 1 Corinthians 15 with another shocking statistic that 1 out of 1 people, or 100% of those who belong to Christ and have accepted Him as their Savior from death lives forevermore. We call that shocking statistic the Christian Faith. That statistic is centered in the certainty and assurance of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, it is the Easter/First fruits message that is the ONLY statistical certainty in this life. Everything else is just a human projection that no one will ever know is really true until it happens. So, it turns out that human-based statistics and models for the future of life and death are a terrible way to live our lives. Surely that was not our Lord's plan for us.
As we head to this once-in-history moment this Easter season in our homes, isn't it a wonderful and shocking statistic that everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ lives forevermore? That is God's message and hope. Nothing has ever changed the Lord's plan for us. The resurrection of Christ is the one thing that conquers death models, statistics, fear, panic and a host of other things that are happening to people all over the world during this pandemic. As we look at the chaos and fear around us, let's share that shocking statistic that 100% of all Christians will never die. That is really the kind of good news we all need. People have never needed the Lord and His gospel more than now. May our Lord use His Church around the world to drive this pandemic to its knees with God's hope for all in this hour. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.
Happy Resurrection season to all of you from the staff here at the Carlson Report.