North Dakota’s a long way from Wuhan, China. But our friend Wes has been seeing more and more customers wearing masks in the local Walmart. He says he’s going to start telling them “to calm down.” Thinking of how fear can spook the stock market, he commented, “Then I’m going to thank them for destroying my 401(k).”
Okay, not a recommended response to the coronavirus crisis. But it’s definitely a reflection of the increasing fear a lot of folks are feeling right now. And the stunning impact this virus is having all over the world.
Major cities shut down. Powerhouse economies like China’s slowing to a crawl. Wholesale international travel cancellations. Wall Street in freefall. Medical supply shortages. Major events cancelled.
And that’s just a few weeks into the threat! Increasingly, there are huge questions about supply line interruptions in everything from manufacturing to medication. And how America’s thriving economy could be affected. And elections. And transportation. And, of course, avoiding the virus’ growing tentacles.
Pandemic, some are calling it. But beyond any medical pandemic is another pandemic. Fear. On social media, on TV – even in a North Dakota store.
But the anxiety thing is bigger even than the coronavirus scare. I just returned from meetings with leaders of major Christian mission organizations; people with their finger on the pulse of people and places around the world. And the recurring observation was, “The nations are being shaken.” From the Hong Kong crisis to riots in India to resurgent anti-Semitism to political upheaval in countries around the globe. And now the ominous cloud of coronavirus hanging over millions of us.
So many unknowns. So many disturbing possibilities. And, yes, so much fear. Precautions are good. Panic and paralysis aren’t. But that is often where fear takes us.
Back in 1993, on the morning after that first bombing at the World Trade Center, I was on the early morning flight from New York to Cleveland. We were greeted by a gaggle of reporters, one of whom stopped me and asked how people were feeling. Without any time to think about it, only one word came to mind. “Vulnerable. We feel vulnerable.”
I think that’s how many of us are feeling in a world that’s “shaking.” And it’s more than a feeling. We really are vulnerable. Look at what happens when there’s just an extended power outage, for example. And with our pervasive dependency on technology, what happens if there’s a cyber meltdown or attack? It wouldn’t take long to make a list of our many vulnerabilities.
Lots to fear.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ron Hutchcraft