Hope in God, Not Government
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory?’ ‘Where, O death, is your sting?’”
Those who understand the promise of Jesus Christ’s resurrection have courage in the knowledge that this life is not their final destination. The truth of the Gospel is not just wishful thinking, it is the reality of God's power, grace, and mercy.
Until recently, Christianity played a huge role in the lives of Americans. Our common history was illuminated with the hope that there was a better life to come. For example, in past centuries, The New England Primer instilled the hope of the afterlife in small children by including a prayer that closes with the line “if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul please take.”
Unsurprisingly, a study from Oxford concluded that the highly religious are some of the least fearful of death. For Christians, belief in eternal life is a part of the bedrock of our faith.
Unfortunately, in the last 20 years there has been a steep decline in the number of Americans who describe themselves as Christian.
Now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are less likely to have the hope, comfort, and conviction of life after physical death. One doctor described her experience when walking into the coronavirus ward by saying, “You can smell fear. You smell death.” This statement is an accurate description of how too many people have responded. Sadly, to compound the problem, most churches have been forced to close their doors because they are “nonessential” services. In Mississippi one church was fined for holding drive-in services, even though there was no contact between the individuals in attendance.
Fewer and fewer Americans identify as believers and now even the faithful have been denied the ability to worship together. Many Americans now look to another higher power to fill that void. For some, this is faith in government control. Christians and non-Christians alike should remember that government restrictions cannot save us from the fate that befalls all of humanity but the government restrictions will erode our liberties if not kept within constitutional limits.
After a legal challenge, the Mississippi church has been allowed to continue hosting its services because the government exceeded its constitutional authority. Something as precious as the freedom to worship should not be sacrificed in the name of unreasonable government restrictions that, in this case, would have done little to promote health and safety.
As Christians we must remember our hope is in Christ alone. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.
 1 Corinthians 15:54-55  Samuel James Smith, “The New-England Primer,” Encyclopedia Britannica (n.d.), https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-New-England-Primer  Mike Mcrae, “Atheists And Highly Religious People Are The Least Scared of Death, Study Reveals,” Science Alert (March 27, 2017), https://www.sciencealert.com/if-you-re-extremely-religious-or-an-atheist-death-isn-t-a-big-concern  Jeffrey M. Jones, “U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades,” Gallup (April 18, 2019), https://news.gallup.com/poll/248837/church-membership-down-sharply-past-two-decades.aspx  Greg Cergol, “‘You Can Smell Fear. You Smell Death’: Doctor Describes COVID-19 Hospital Hell,” CNBC (April 4, 2020), https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/you-can-smell-fear-you-can-smell-death-doctor-describes-covid-19-hospital-hell/2359507/  Rebecca Klar, “Mississippi mayor reverses, will allow drive-in church with windows up,” The Hill (April 15, 2020), https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/493066-mississippi-mayor-reverses-will-allow-drive-in-church-with-windows-up  Hebrews 9:27  Rebecca Klar, “Mississippi mayor reverses, will allow drive-in church with windows up,” The Hill (April 15, 2020), https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/493066-mississippi-mayor-reverses-will-allow-drive-in-church-with-windows-up  1 John 5:13