Everything will be all right…our message of hope

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Nursing homes are locked down. No visitors allowed.

As of Monday, Courtyard Apartments on the east end of town is closed to visitors.

Children are stuck at home because their schools have closed as of this week in Carter County and Elizabethton.

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Some restaurants have limited their business to drive-thru customers.

Grocery stores and the Wal-Mart now are closing at 11 p.m. and re-opening at 6 a.m. to give employees time to clean and restock their shelves.

Sporting events have been cancelled, and in many instances, churches are doing their services online. We expect more churches to cancel their services within the next few days and weeks.

Social distancing is urged. In other words, avoid close contact with others as well as crowds. Suspend social practices like hugging and shaking hands. The CDC is urging no gatherings of no more than 25 persons.

People are scared. Some are panicking as evidenced by the empty shelves at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores. No toilet tissue, no cleaning supplies, and no bread!

Even the news on TV is consumed with the coronavirus and many watch as their retirement account sinks.

It is human to be scared, but it is not the time to panic. It is the time to have faith, to know and believe we are going to get through this together, and everything will be all right. It is a time to encourage one another, to check on your neighbors, to offer childcare if they need it, to share some of that toilet tissue you have bought and stored “just in case.”

How we react to this pandemic will define this country and our community for a long time. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Lots of bad news. But the outcome is how we respond to the news of what is happening in our country and in our community; how we face each day despite the pandemic and crashing markets, how we remain hopeful when it seems the world is crashing around us.

There’s one thing, I do know. Our faith in God and in each other can help us face these dark times with hope. Faith is hope.

In America we are the land of the quick fix, the land of solutions, the land where everything can be made right and quickly. Until now. We have no vaccine for coronavirus, not enough testing kits, and maybe not enough hospital beds should this virus reach the height that some think it will. The only message we’re getting is that the virus will not go away or be conquered soon. The threat continues to hang over all our heads. It’s downright depressing. What do we do? How do we respond when hope is crashing down all around us.

The message we want to leave you with is one of encouragement. In the Gospels we read where Jesus told his disciples to get in the boat and cross to the other side of the lake. He stayed behind. Night was on them, and a storm came up and strong winds began to toss and batter the ship and its crew. The disciples became afraid. During the storm Jesus appeared and He calmed the storm, and they made it safely to the other side with Jesus in the boat. The message: Life is a journey…we’re trying to get from this side to the other side. Along the way there is a lot of stuff, a lot of storms that we have to go through. Just remember, Jesus is with us during the storm. When we are being whipped around the most and scared out of our wits, look up. He is there with us. The very storm that brought fear to the disciples is the same storm that brought Jesus to them. Just remember: Jesus is in the storm with us, and He gives us hope and assurance. This storm will pass and we will make it.

We must believe, be kind and generous to those around us, be helpful and caring. Don’t horde. Share as much as you can. God has not abandoned us, but is with us. His message to us: “Don’t Be Afraid, Just Trust Me.”

— By Rozella Hardin, Editorial Director