Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Balancing vigilance and providence in the face of Ebola [sharing at Think Christian today]


I work in an office building 204 miles from the Dallas hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan died earlier this month, marking the first Ebola diagnosis and fatality in North America. The conversations among coworkers that day veered far from the normal topics to discussions of life and death ethics.
Last week, 43 people who had direct contact with Duncanwere released from quarantine in good health. Two nurses who’d been infected with Ebola while caring for Duncan haveboth recovered. Yet this good news does not seem to be settling our national fear. A recent Pew Research pollcomparing our level of concern from the beginning of October to last week found we are becoming more afraid that someone we love will be exposed to Ebola. Is it possible we are not trusting reason at all? What about a providential God?
Richard Sacra, a missionary doctor, was headed toward the Ebola outbreak in Liberia when his colleague, Kent Brantley, was infected with the disease. Sacra himself became infected and returned to the United States for treatment. He has recovered and told reporters, “I fully intend to be part of its reconstruction as I continue my work at ELWA Hospital, with a focus on training physicians and strengthening Liberia’s health system for the long run.” Is this reckless behavior? What sort of credo informs our response to epidemics? Do we even need one?

Bonus feature: a couple of good resources to join others in praying daily for those suffering from the Ebola virus

Ebola prayer–Every morning  
Psalm 90:12-14 (ESV) 
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long?Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 
Our Father in heaven,
We thank You for the precious gift of time.  We thank You for the gift of time set apart as sacred, the Sabbath.  Bless the Christians in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Mali, that they may keep the Sabbath holy.
Return to Your servants in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Mali, O Lord!  How long?  Have pity, we pray. 
Your steadfast love never ceases; Your mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  We hope in You for Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, and Guinea.  Amen. 
Lamentations 3:22-24

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