by Brent Amato
Pestilence: Any extremely poisonous, injurious or fatal contagious or infectious disease, especially one of epidemic proportions, as a plague.
Sound familiar? "Coronavirus." As of Saturday, April 25, according to a tally compiled by John Hopkins University from government figures, the worldwide death toll topped 202,000 and in the U.S., infections surpassed 930,000 cases with more than 53,000 deaths. (Chicago Tribune)
Rest assured, God was not taken by surprise by COVID-19. In fact around 1000 B.C., He inspired a Psalmist to write and sing Psalm 91. This Psalm is most certainly for us in such a time as this. How many 16-verse passages of Scripture reference "pestilence" twice and "plague"? (Psalm 91:3,6,10) In view of this and other deadly prospects, it gives us security for such a time as this.
THE KEY VERSE (PSALM 91:2)
"I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’"
It starts with a declaration, "I will say." This is more than a casual thought or emotion; this is nothing less than a declaration of one’s will, and that is the heart of this matter. Declarations confirm, and this is a "Declaration of Dependence."
Note to whom it is addressed: "The Lord," the only One appropriate to receive the declaration. Think of all the other "resources" people seek or appeal to in such a time as this.
We read God is like a "refuge" ("a place of security") and a "fortress" ("protecting one from attack").
Further the object of this Psalm is personalized, not once but three times! ("my refuge", "my fortress", "my God").
Finally, the Psalmist’s declaration ends with these words: "in whom I trust." Trust must be an important Biblical concept because the word or a variant thereof is referenced no less than 182 times in Scripture. Please realize that "trust" is something beyond "belief." If I ever decided to take up sky-diving, I would go to an airport and listen to someone’s instruction and watch that person "pack" the parachute that we were going to use. I might be asked, "Do you believe that this person knows what he was talking about? That he is an experienced expert in sky-diving? That he knows how to pack a parachute? That it was going to work?" I could believe all of this and answer. "Yes."
Trust, however, would be jumping out of the plane - action based on belief.
In this time of pestilence and, really at all times, I believe God is calling all of us to believe and trust, and trust "ruthlessly" ("not letting anything stay too long between us and our God").
Brent Amato is the CLS Chicagoland Coordinator and former CLS national president and board member. He meets with lawyers, law students, and other professionals in the law in and around Chicago. He also is looking for others like himself to train and do the same work in other big cities.