I’m going to go ahead and tread on some shaky ground.
- Yes, 2020 will probably result in a record number of deaths in America, most likely as a result of this pandemic.
- Yes, people that are physically vulnerable, especially the elderly and those with respiratory issues, must be protected and ministered to in a variety of ways.
- Also, their are many people that are NOT at risk of dying, yet must be ministered to in unique ways as well, for each and every one of us has been affected by this pandemic.
So, without casting blame, but with the intent of helping us minister to more people through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I want to point out some numbers that we must not ignore.
This year, as of September 30, 1% of all Covid-related deaths have been people under 35, that’s 1,942 people. In 2018, the last year we have stats for suicide, there were 14,827 people in the same age group (under 35) that died from suicide. All indications show that this number will go up this year because of the added stresses that 2020 has brought.
So, by the end of 2020, it’s not a stretch to say that deaths by suicide in America for those under 35 will outnumber Covid-related deaths in the same age category 6:1!
According to rollcall.com . . .
The nation’s suicide rate reached historic highs prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with rates at the highest levels since World War II. Economic and social pressures this year have heightened the risks, worrying experts, health officials and lawmakers.
Suicide mortality rates that were rising over the past two decades combined with the current pandemic are a “perfect storm,” found a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April. Factors include economic stress, social isolation, reduced access to religious services, overall national anxiety, increased firearm sales and increases in health care provider suicides.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine has seen a 65 percent increase in calls and emails since March, according to the organization, though it is not a crisis hotline.
By the way, an additional 10,000 in that same age group in 2018 were by homicide, another result of people desperate and angry and hopeless. For the first half of 2020, the most conservative estimate is that homicides have increased 15% in the U.S. from 2019.
We cannot, as followers of Jesus Christ, determine our focus
by what everybody else sees as important.
Yes, we need to be respectful of those around us by doing something as
easy as putting on a mask. Yet, we
cannot allow the news of our culture or the different ideology of our neighbor
shut us down from addressing a bigger need in our culture – fear and
hopelessness. Maybe Jesus will or won’t
keep COVID from your house, maybe Jesus will or won’t provide for all of the
material things and money issues you have.
Yet, He will, beyond any shadow of doubt, provide for your most
important need – getting into a right relationship with Him so that your life
will be lived to the full. This means a
life (including an eternal, heaven-bound life) that is full of His joy, His peace, His strength. Couldn't we all agree at this point that we'll take those things even if it isn’t full of
perfect health, all the money we want, or relationships that always work out perfectly.
If you are in a right relationship with your Creator, you ought to have a perspective of death that does NOT elicit fear and hopelessness, but a perspective of respect and a hopeful anticipation of eternity with Jesus forever.
If you are not in a right relationship with your Creator, get it right. Just like we are told to “get your affairs in order” when we’re nearing the end of their life, it is appropriate, when we are thinking more about death, to get our affairs in order regarding our eternity. Did you know that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross in your place so that you can know, for certain, that you have eternal life. You can know, not because you’ve done the right things, but because you’ve trusted the right person and followed the right God. Give your life to Jesus today and he will not only give you eternal life, but He will give you joy and peace right now, in the midst of whatever this world may become.
May our mission NOT be about mask policies, but about how 2020 has unmasked people's need for a Savior, for hope, for something (someone) solid.
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. First John, Chapter 4