We have wondered if there was ever a day that passed in our father’s life when he did not feel the deep, life-long wound of his mother being torn from her young family by the ravages of the pandemic. 100+ years later, countless families around the world are experiencing the same crushing loss.
Minerva was only 28. She had helped as a volunteer care-provider for others in her community who were ill from the pandemic. Baby Keir was 18 months old [not in the family photo] Jane was seven. Albert was five. Eva with the teddy-bear was two. No funeral could be held in November 1918. Her husband Nathan became a 38-year-old widower. None of the locals could come near the house because of the virus. The children’s last sight was the homemade casket with their mother’s remains in it. Nathan took it to the window for the children to see.
My father lived with that painful memory all his life and often wept thinking about their devastated little family. As he preached the Gospel throughout North America and the UK, he often spoke of looking out his bedroom window at night, from a wet pillow, peering into the moon-lit sky, wondering where his mother had gone. “Where has mama gone?”
The local newspaper Summerside Journal published this on 20 November 1918, page 5, col. 4
It is with sincere regret we chronicle the death of one of Richmond’s most highly esteemed ladies in the person of Mrs. Nathan Ramsay at the early age of [twenty-eight] years. Mrs. Ramsay suffered from the prevailing epidemic and on Nov. 7th, her soul passed to its eternal reward. She leaves to mourn their loss a kind and loving husband and four small children. To Mr. Ramsay and little children, we desire to offer our heartfelt sympathy and condolence.
Informed people back in 1918 realized they had a personal responsibility to protect their neighbours and loved ones, as well as themselves, by physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and the wearing of masks. Such responsible actions would mitigate the risks but not eliminate them completely. Many people did whatever they could to not contribute to the spread.
Resistance to Proven Safety Measures
But even back then – there were those who opposed the wearing of masks. While respected agencies like the Red Cross took out ads to promote them, others organized resistance movements. They resented anyone who tried to tell them how to safely live their lives during a pandemic crisis and how, as a responsible citizen, they could help keep their community safe. Yes, there were protests back then.
In 1918, people argued their rights to live the way they wanted to live, and no one should dare impose something on them. So, it is not a new thing. And, it is far deeper than politics; it is a reaction of the human heart –
“I don’t have to obey the rules. I don’t have to heed the advice. No one will impose restrictions on me. I’m strong. I’m invincible.”
Of all the groups in society that should be the most supportive of public health safety measures during a pandemic and actively promote the same, are those who claim to be pro-life and believe in the Right to Life. Promoting the sanctity of life at all stages and ages should be the heart-beat of every authentic Christian – emphasis on authentic.
The Original Attitude
The attitude of disrespect and disobedience is not new. In fact, it precipitated a pandemic far worse than any health virus that has ever afflicted the human family. It was a spiritual pandemic. To this day, people try to deny its existence, try to ignore the threat, and claim it is a hoax. But for this lethal spiritual virus, no human interventions are effective.
Disobedience in the Human Heart
Adam disrespected his Creator and acted in disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Theologically that pandemic is known as “The Fall”. Read Genesis Chapter 1,2 & 3.
People may wonder how sin ever started in the human family but no one denies its reality. They may not call it sin – but they know when someone steals their purse or their phone – that it is fundamentally ‘wrong’. Or, when someone abuses their child, they know it is wrong. When someone makes a promise to them and they discover they have been lied to – they know lying is wrong. The Bible calls it sin.
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience [Jesus] the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— Romans 5:12
No one takes evening-online-courses on how to lie. Parents do not have sessions with their very small children on how to become a good little liar. We don’t need special instructions on how to disobey. The know-how for these things is in our DNA. It’s a spiritual virus that has spread down through the ages – and yes, it is a pandemic – it ‘pans’ the globe. It is not isolated geographically or culturally. Everyone without exception has the sin virus.
Ravages of Sin
There is no spiritual vaccine that has ever given any person immunity against the virus of sin. Herd immunity did not work. Religiosity can only camouflage the deep inner problem of sin. It prevails. And the scourge of sin is felt every day, everywhere, and in every heart.
God in mercy, despite the original rebellion and the persisting daily hostility still displayed towards Him – yes, God in mercy and in rich grace intervened to provide a total and failure-free remedy. That’s the metanarrative of the Bible.
The anti-vaxxers of today may refuse to take the COVID19 vaccine when it becomes available. And there are people today who refuse the only remedy for sin as well. Again, there is a certain “I know best” attitude in the human heart. “I don’t have to comply. I am strong. I’m not vulnerable. I don’t have to worry.” And, that’s often the attitude of sinners who feel they do not need God’s gracious and merciful intervention. There’s a certain arrogance in human hearts.
They say: “To succumb to Jesus Christ is weakness. It’s a crutch in life.”
Choices and Consequences
People are entitled to their own thoughts and attitudes. After all, we are not robots. God dignified the human family by placing within each of us the ability to make our own choices. But along with that comes responsibility and consequences.
Given the undeniable evidence of the ‘sin pandemic’ that has affected every single person, and – yes, its ravages are seen and felt every day – given all of that, read these words:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1Timothy 1:15
The Obedient One went to the cross and died for our sins. He did this out of love for you and me.
…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… 1Corinthians 15:3-4
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof positive that His death for our sins was not only successful, Jesus Christ was triumphant and victorious. People may question the efficacy of a medical vaccine that scientists will approve – but God Himself has signed-off on the efficacy of the work of His Son by raising Him from the dead.
…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame. Romans 10:9-11
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13
Comfort for You
Friend, I pray that you will be kept safe from the COVID19 virus. If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who are in deep grief over the loss of a loved one taken by the virus and you need our prayers please contact us with your request.
At the time of this writing, over one million COVID19 deaths have been reported to the World Health Organization – those are only the ones that have been reported. The world is wet with tears of grief – even if some of us have enjoyed so far the protection of our bubble. The Bible says that God is the God of all comfort. 2Corinthians 1:3
Hope for You
Let me remind you – the cure, the remedy, the answer for the virus of a different magnitude – the sin virus, is available to you today. Don’t be an anti-saviour person. Do not resist. Do not rebel. Do not defy the only remedy for sin. Trust Him, receive Him, accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour today and be spiritually saved for the rest of your life on earth and be sure of a home in Heaven forever.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18