February 9, 2021
On Facing Adversity

Tom Fisher
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance character; and character, hope.“
Romans 5:3-4
As of the time of this writing, the United States is suffering from the COVID pandemic. Today’s news reports that the infection has hit approximately 25.3 million people with a death rate of about 3%. People are encouraged to practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands, and wear a face mask when around other people.

For those of us who were alive in the early 1950s, do you remember the spread of polio and the fear of catching it? Do you remember iron lungs and young people facing surgeries that may or may not be successful in repairing curved spines? I remember it well because I had a cousin who was a victim, and even with many corrective operations, she ultimately died from the stress on her body.

The question for us is, “How do we respond to the COVID situation and similar ones, yet to be revealed, that we will face in life? How shall we react?”

The trials and tribulations of life present both challenges and opportunities. We must learn to endure and to face our trials with courage. We have to “dig deeply” and search for strength with which to face adversity.

Norman Vincent Peale, who died at the age of 95, was a famous and popular advocate of the “Power of Positive Thinking.” One of his well-known sayings can be applied to our situation in facing COVID. Peale said, “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our successes or failure."

Facing COVID, as with polio or any other dread disease, we rely on modern medicine, but we also must draw strength from our Christian faith. As summarized by Kushner in “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” the question is not “God, why are you doing this to me?” Instead, it should be “God, see what is happening to me. Can You help me?"
Lord, we humbly come before you with our worries about COVID. We do not know if our family or friends will become victims. We understand our world is not perfect and bad things can happen. But, we affirm that we will walk forward in faith, strengthened by our Church, our family, and our friends. We ask you to watch over us as we face the future. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com