I’m one of those type of guys that makes the joke whenever I can. I don’t take life too seriously, most of the time. I live by the philosophy, “Have fun, but be smart.” In essence, the only things I take seriously are my vocational roles. To that, my wife would even say, “Only to a certain extent.” Here’s an example: over the years I’ve come up with comebacks to those typically asked questions. One question in particular we are all asked,“How are you doing? Living the dream?” Now most people say, “Absolutely!” or “Oh ya!” But not I. My response is typically, for comic relief and sarcastic rhetoric,“Of course I am! Too bad it’s all a nightmare…”
Typically such a remark catches people off guard. First, because nobody ever responds in such a manner, and they aren’t expecting it. Second, I am a pastor, therefore people always think I’m supposed to be singing Ren and Stimpy’s “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!” There’s just one problem. Even though I’m always ready to make the joke, I struggle with a disease. What is that disease? Depression.
2020 has been a great year for those who struggle with depression. Boy, has it been a nightmare with the awful things that have happened and the isolation forced upon so many. Personally I’ve lost a lot in the past six months. I lost my dad to COVID-19, lost my job, had to move to a place where I pretty much knew only 4 people (all family), my mom ended up in the hospital with life threatening ailments, and my uncle through marriage has just been placed on hospice. (it seems my aunt will have lost all her family in just a 5 year span.) God Almighty, this sucks! This would drive anyone to drink, and even worse things. I don’t write this for sympathy, I just know how much all of us have probably lost over the year 2020.
That’s why I paid attention when a college and seminary classmate/buddy of mine posted on Facebook quotes from a book released back in October entitled The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic Into a Catastrophe by Jay W. Richards, William M. Briggs, and Douglas Axe. Who’s fault is it really that this year was so bad. While I have yet to read the book, though I just ordered it a moment ago, my friend shared these quotes:
ABC News reported from the San Francisco Bay area, “Doctors at John Muir medical center in Walnut Creek say they have seen more deaths by suicide during this quarantine period than deaths from Covid-19 virus.” One doctor said he’d “seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.”
In early April, the Journal of the American Medical Association was already warning that “the potential for adverse outcomes on suicide risk is high.” They based that judgment on past “economic downturns,” which “are usually associated with higher suicide rates compared with periods of relative prosperity.” Enforced isolation and closed religious services, they argued, would also increase suicidal thoughts and suicides.
The exact toll could be immense. Many suicides could come far after the crisis has subsided, since the effects of the lockdowns will linger for years. Deaths from the Corona virus are being noted and seen. The deaths of despair caused by our response will scatter across the years, mostly unseen.
On May 11, the L.A. times said outright what we had been thinking for over 2 months: “The economic devastation the pandemic reeks on the ultrapore could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself.” Of course, the story blamed the pandemic itself. And it should get some of the blame. But the panic that followed in its wake should get the lion’s share.
Again, I have yet to read the book. I don’t even know what pages the quotes came from, but I look forward to receiving it in the mail. These quotes may even be causing or adding anxiety and melancholy to your life. These quotes show us that in 2020 the the devil, the world, and our sinful nature are still kicking and kicking hard. It’s this trifecta that continues to haunt us and will not go away anytime soon. In reading these selections we can try to blame a virus or other people all we want, but ultimately we make decisions that could possibly kill us, even if it was inspired listening to so-called experts. They didn’t take our lives away from us, we did by listening to them like puppets led to a wood chipper. The point: humanity, whom we are a part of, keeps screwing it up for itself. It’s not a virus or any sickness (though, they certainly don’t help us one bit) and it has been doing this through thousands of years of sin-tainted human history.
This is why we must look to Christ, dear reader, whether you struggle through depression or not, loss or not, gain or not. It is He that brings hope in the best and worst of times. Through all of this crap, Christ stands strong for us. He forgives us and constantly renews us to withstand all this !@#% we call earthly life. The good news is that it will all come to an end some day, at God’s own choosing. He will completely deliver us from evil in this vale of tears, AND IT WILL BE GLORIOUS!
Will 2020 be the worst year in history? Only the text books will tell for future generations. Personally, the worst year in human history happened thousands of years ago when mankind fell into sin. Regardless of anything, the cure for this original sin and all that has come out of it has been given to us all by Christ. All the worst years of every generation are nothing compared to the great gifts of our Triune God provides us freely without any merit or worthiness in us. You, who have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, you wonderful sinner who Christ died and rose for: Jesus has set you free to live forever, and that is sure and certain. Yes, the waiting can be painful, but it’s worth the wait, FOR IT WILL BE GLORIOUS!