Trusting in a Pandemic
Welcome Steve Orr to the Coaches Corner
Born and raised in West Kentucky, Steve Orr spent his first two decades surrounded by rolling hills, green grass, and rolling rivers. He graduated from public schools and the Paducah Community College (a local two-year campus of the University of Kentucky). Two pillars of his life were formed in those years: his love of God and his love of writing. Over the following decades, he moved to Texas, completed his college education, married a Texas woman, raised a daughter, and formed a career as a banker, bank examiner, federal bank regulator, and federal investigator.
He worked in the Boston area for almost two decades before returing to Texas in 2007. He continued to actively pursue God, church life, and writing throughout all of it. Today, Steve serves his community on nonprofit boards, serves in church, leads Bible studies, and writes extensively on how real people relate to a real God.
How do we trust in a Pandemic
My wife and I are solidly in the bullseye of this killer virus. By this point in the 2020 pandemic, we have learned there are unseen (and unseeable) snares just waiting to trip us up. And it’s forced us to become quite cautious. Also, to be completely transparent, our trust levels are pretty low: people don’t appear to be taking sufficient precautions. My reaction to someone attempting to interact with me while not wearing a mask and not practicing social distancing will be negative. For us, such behavior is just too risky.
What level of risk can you live with? Corollary: how much are you willing for your behaviors to put at risk the lives of family, loved ones, and strangers?
Remember: risk goes both ways.
Ernest Hemingway wrote, "The best way to make people trust-worthy is to trust them." He penned those words after experiencing the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Do you find yourself wondering how he could feel so comfortable taking that approach? Does it sound dangerous to you? At the very least it sounds risky; certainly so in today’s environment.
For many of us, when we weigh the possible costs of choosing the Hemingway Option, the risk of being hurt (or worse) just seems too high. We won't do it. But don't think Hemingway was naive. He, too, had weighed the potentials. He knew that, even though some could be trusted, not everyone could be. The difference: it was far more valuable to Hemingway to know who was trustworthy than to continue to wonder. To him, it was worth the risk.
But there are situations where the risk is too great. When I can actually see someone acting in a way that places me at greater risk than if they acted a different way, then I must wonder just how high is their regard for my wellbeing.
In this week's scriptures, the Psalmist implores God to "Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone." But what if the “trap” is not personally directed at me? What if their behavior is non-specific, not really directed at anyone? What if that person isn’t thinking about me ... at all?
Is it any less a trap for those of us who fall into it?
Most of us would rather not exercise the Hemingway Option to determine if a “trap” awaits us. In fact, most of us can see the obvious if we will only pay attention. Sure, someone could lay a trap for us in some clandestine way, but God has provided a response to that.
When I need rescue, God is my deliverer. When I need a place to hide away, God is my refuge. But I won’t test God by going about in this life ignoring obvious pitfalls. What I‘m going to do is elect the Psalmist Option: trust God to deal with my enemies and to pull me from any traps set for me ... even if the people setting them are unintentional enemies.
READINGS FOR THE COMING WEEK
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
1 Peter 2:2-10
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