The world is not as many of us wish it to be, and it will remain so until all things are made new again. Hearing from [missionaries] and friends around the world, there is little hope of most of the world being able to enact the measures that we enjoy in the West. Social distancing only works if you have sufficient space, “shelter in place” is a tremendous luxury reserved for those who have houses and supplies of food, hand washing is unfathomable when running water is scarce, and face masks and gloves are scarce for those with little money. The world is different for those who live hand-to-mouth—and for those who would live long-term among them, they must realize that this is their lot for many years. Health and safety are secondary concerns for the Christ-follower. This can be a startling revelation for many, but one that is dawning on all of God’s people more and more during this unique time.
Psalm 90 reminds us to “number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” To be honest, I am amazed each year that more and more young people step forward to take this training and lay down their lives for seeing His name made great among “the nations.” One of the qualities I have observed in many of these students is an attribute that is missing among many of their peers: the ability to think about the end of life with clarity and calculation.
The Scriptures speak of us as shadows, mist, grass that rises and falls. The effects of Coronavirus are still largely unknown, and those who fear death are right to be afraid. But if life is temporal, and true life awaits beyond the river, then Coronavirus is just one of many things that is part of living in an uncertain world. Each one should increasingly live with the realization that we are sojourners in a world that is not our own.
Brad Buser (Long time missionary and missionary trainer)