The Florida Department of Health has confirmed the first Zika-related microcephaly birth in the state. Microcephaly is a condition involving the abnormal development of a child’s brain before and after birth. Perhaps you have seen the pictures of affected children on the news. It isn’t hard to understand why the word “Zika” strikes fear in all of us, and especially pregnant women who have travelled to parts of the world where the virus is spreading.
These fears, along with warnings from health officials, have led a number of athletes to pull of the Rio Olympics. Just a few hours ago golfer Jason Day added his name to the list.
First there were fears of criminal activity, then a financial emergency, and now Olympic glory has been brought to its knees by a virus.
Exactly how big is the Zika virus? A website I viewed says it is about 40 nanometers in diameter. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter. I am way out of my field of expertise here, but I think it is safe to say the Zika virus is small. Very small.
For years we have known how vulnerable we are as a human race, but when something so small impacts our world in such a big way, we are humbled. We should be.
In Psalm 8:4 David wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” Of life itself, James wrote, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).
We build cities and name them after famous people. We advance careers and celebrate them with plaques on the wall. We achieve athletic greatness and wear medals around our necks. And we accumulate possessions and post them on Facebook.
Then a virus appears and gets our attention.
Obviously, we can’t spend our lives worrying about every possible catastrophe. Take it from someone who grew up with atomic bomb drills.
On the other hand, we also shouldn’t live with the illusion we can protect ourselves from every danger. Even if we could, we would still have to find a way to escape the greatest risk of all: ourselves. I just read an excerpt from a Stephen Hawking interview where he said the biggest threats to humankind are still pollution, coupled with “human greed and stupidity.” I don’t agree with all of Stephen Hawking’s views, but I’m with him on this one.
Tragically, the Zika virus targets babies and brings great sorrow into the hearts of their loved ones. But it sends a message to all of us. Bigness and brilliance are no guarantee life will be painless.
I leave you with two pieces of advice:
First, remember, none of us are able to control every circumstance in our lives. Our perfect plans can come to ruin in a moment. This doesn’t mean we can’t avoid trouble with wise choices, but life has no guarantees. For this reason we should remain humble in God’s presence and seek His protection daily. When trouble comes, we should turn to God for strength and comfort.
Secondly, be thankful. If you haven’t faced any huge tragedies in your life, you are fortunate. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have escaped trouble because you are a good person, or one of God’s favorites. Some of God’s greatest servants in the Bible fell into both of these categories, and yet they suffered. Thank God every day for your blessings, and never be too big to bow in humble adoration.
Don’t stop planning for tomorrow.
Don’t live in constant fear something bad is going to happen.
Both of these mindsets are unscriptural.
Just remember something the size of 40 nanometers can change everything. That’s why people are willing to trade a gold medal for peace of mind.