As the Ebola situation in the United States seems to take center stage on our news, I have been asked many times about our risk and if we are safe. I have heard true concern—fear in the voices of people I connect with every week. I understand why people are concerned, as Ebola is a terrible disease and it’s heartbreaking to watch so many suffer. In these conversations, I’ve tried to be a voice of calm—knowing in my mind that factors such as geography, population, transmission and probability put them at very low risk, as we live over 1,000 miles from Dallas.
Then my mind goes to Liberia, a country smaller than Rhode Island and a population 1.5 times the size of the Denver metropolitan area. The denseness of the population in Monrovia leaves many homes with more than 20 people sleeping in them at night. For those in Liberia, fear takes on a whole new meaning in the midst of the outbreak.
On CNN World this morning they again talked about the plight of the orphan, “For every Ebola grave, there is roughly one child who lost a parent in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The disease has robbed at least 4,555 people of their lives.” Think about the fear of these children. The article went on to share the pulpit message from a Liberian church that they need to change their attitude of fear. The pastor went so far as to hold the hand of an orphan in front of the church (a rare contact in the current environment among all Liberians), to make the point that they need to put their trust in the Lord and care for the orphans.
I think about Robert, our National Director in Liberia, and other Christian leaders and how their daily job is to bring God’s peace to a situation that would test the faith of most of us. I think of their commitment to their communities to bring the truth, food and God’s unwavering love. I think about 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
We have an important job in this too; we are to be on our knees praying for God to be glorified in the miraculous healing of West Africa from the outbreak. We have to give and pray with a spirit of confidence, power and love. Please take time this week to pray for this nation, and give to the ongoing food challenge that our children face. Be bold and show God’s love.