When "Pandemic" Is More Than Just Family Game Night-Reality Check : Ebola Crisis in the Making

Photo Credit Creation Swap, Travis Silva  Inside Light

Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


“Are you prepared for an Ebola Pandemic?”

That was the headline staring at me from my inbox this morning.

I know I don’t want to think about or talk about Ebola, and maybe you don’t either-but the truth of the matter is that it’s out there.  The potential for mass death and destruction is real.  And the buzz is starting to get louder, so it is probably time to take a look in the eyes of Ebola and the potential it has to alter the future for you, me and everyone on planet earth.

The closest I have ever come to this thought before now is through a board game my family has called “Pandemic.”  In the game, everyone works together to contain and stop the spread of deadly diseases using their specialized “powers” as assigned by various cards.  These days the idea of “playing” Pandemic sounds less than amusing when we are on the cusp of a very real possibility of having to live it out.

Bringing Ebola to our own backyard

Fear-inciting stories of illnesses with potential outbreak status are swirling on the horizon.

First, there was the report that Ebola was causing many to fall ill and even die across the pond in Africa.  But it was an ocean away.  So, it was easier to turn a blind eye to tragedy when it wasn’t on our own shores.

Next, they shipped workers here for treatment.  Scary, but okay-they were careful.  The people recovered.  Resume life as normal…

But then there was Thomas Duncan.  According to articles, he was sick with Ebola when he came into the country.  He was sent home from the hospital and possibly came into contact with DOZENS before they finally diagnosed him and admitted him to the hospital where he died a few days after that.

Now one of the Texas healthcare workers who took care of Duncan is ill, and dozens of others who came into contact with the sick parties are being observed. But there have to be hundreds of people exposed just from the chain of connections that have not yet been reported…

Fear of the Unknown

I shudder to think that anyone really believes that they can “contain” this disease.  When it appears we are unclear on transmission, how can we possibly prevent it from spreading?  Or worse than that-how can we really presume to control something we have absolutely NO control over?

I read an article today where a Dutch doctor said “It seems that Ebola can present without fever especially in the first phase.”  This Doctor had to shut down a hospital he was running in which 4 out 5 of his nurses died from the disease when exposed to people who had NO fever.  His hospital is not the only one that has been closed in West Africa.

But perhaps worse than that, he also said, “This outbreak is completely out of control, and the only way to stop (it) is to find every case, isolate them and trace their contacts”.

For a “soft” hypochondriac like myself, this thought gets me worrying.

“Find every case”?  That is nothing short of impossible.  No one is safe from the potential of coming into contact with this disease.  How is it possible to “isolate” everyone who ever comes into contact with someone who has the disease?  It isn’t possible or plausible, even.

Death Sentence

The worst part is that there are people dying from the disease-a LOT of people.  And they suffer a great deal before they die.  Yes, some have recovered, but this is not the majority.  So far, the death toll has the upper hand.

Whoa.  Wait a minute.  This can KILL me if I get it.  And suddenly, if you are like me, we begin to respond in fear and not even realize it.

It really hit me that I was afraid after I heard about the man that died in Texas.  I started wondering about everyone I was coming into contact with.  I wondered if they had been on a plane recently.  I wondered if any of their family had been on a plane or out of the country.  My brain started lighting up a germ radar for everything I touched.

I noticed my subtle fear caused me to reconsider plans we have made.  We are thinking of attending a football game in a big city and going to the mall there later on this month.   I thought, maybe we shouldn’t go-maybe someone who slipped through the cracks would be out and about, and me or my family might come into contact with them.

My family is also thinking of taking a trip to Florida this winter.  But honestly?  I am seriously reconsidering thatdecision, too.  I thought about people that my husband and my KIDS would come into contact with….  What if we got sick?  Could the facility I am admitted to really take care of me?  What if they quarantine us and we can’t go back home?  Or??

Maybe I just want to quarantine myself and my family.  Maybe we will just stay home.  Then we won’t be at risk…right?

Eternal security amid insecurity

With my mind racing and traveling well beyond the here and now, I realized that this is NOT something I can analyze and fix.  It is so far outside my scope of ability and I truly can’t do anything beyond this very moment.  And folks, the real truth is that This. Moment. Right. Now. is all ANY of us has.

We are not promised any time on earth beyond this moment.  I can try to “plan” for the worst or try to prevent it from happening.  Yet, there is no amount of worry or energy I can expend to stop God’s sovereign plan for mine or my family’s life.  Even if that plan includes cancer, death or even the dreaded Ebola virus.

So now you know one of my secrets…


All I have to do is start thinking about little micro-organisms that can result in me or my family getting sick and then, my faith is knocked on its hind-end.

Those little ‘no-see-ums’ march my mind right into battle once again.  In moments like this, the fight for faith is renewed.

I have to look at the memorials of truth that God left for me in His word.  I need to preach those truths to myself and remember that He is faithful even when I am faithless, and that He is altogether WORTHY of my trust in Him.

Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Nothing can stand in the way of that love.  If you or I are in the love of Christ there is NOTHING at any time that can take that love away.  Not even the dreaded Ebola Virus or a doom and gloom pandemic of biblical proportions.  Or anything at all.

God promised that His people would be safe and secure in Him wherever we may find ourselves.  But God never said we wouldn’t get sick or suffer loss or pain.  Instead, He GUARANTEED that we would experience to these things.

But though we experience these things, He promised that we can have PEACE that He has already “overcome the world”.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

As I set my eyes on the truth that Christ overcame my sinful state and made me a friend of God, I can step forward in confidence that I will meet my redeemer in Heaven one day.

This truth is more powerful than the bonds of disease or suffering-as these are just temporary afflictions.

The truth that Jesus restored me to God is everlasting!  And that day when my faith becomes sight, I will throw off the chains of fear that try to bind me in this world!

Until then, I will “press on” to the mark looking ahead to the “Author and Finisher of my fate”!

Knowing that God has carefully designed my destiny to bring Him glory is what helps me move forward in this life no matter what the future holds!

David Willman, Unease Over Ebola Signs, Tribune Washington Bureau    October 13, 2014

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