I love cottage cheese. There is just something about a nice dish of cottage cheese in the evening, doused with a shake or two of seasoning salt, and maybe garnished with a couple of Ritz crackers that spells the good end of a long day. Doris likes a cup of green tea. James Bond preferred a martini, dry, shaken, not stirred. For me, I like to end the day with a dish of cottage cheese.
For one thing, cottage cheese SEEMS to be healthy. It has to be good for you. Terrible texture, awful taste, not sweet at all. Anything that bad has to be good for you. And the other thing, I think it lasts forever. Really, as I understand it, cottage cheese is just milk and cream that has curdled. (Who knows what curds and whey are anyway.) If it is made of stuff that is about spoiled then it stands to reason, it just won’t spoil. When I go to the fridge, if the sell-by date is some time this decade then I figure we are good to go.
We are caught in the midst of a medical hysteria like I cannot remember. From FaceBook to the nightly news, there are countless stories about the coronavirus and the impact it has had, will have, or can have on the world as a whole and on us in particular. It is cottage cheese, all kinds of stuff, some good, some spoiled, thrown into a big bowl and mixed together. Some people look at the stories, turn up their nose and say, “That is awful. I want nothing to do with it.” Others put it on a peach, dress it in with parsley and make it the centerpiece of every table. To tell you the truth, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. I do not want to be uninformed, uneducated, and unaware of the coronavirus. There are helpful bits of information that I need in order to be wise. This is a fluid, ever-changing situation and to be a good husband, father, business leader, and even citizen, I must stay on top of what is happening and what is recommended.
On the other hand, even cottage cheese gets sickening if it is all I eat, three times a day, seven days a week. I’m no nutritionist but my guess is that you need a green leaf or two every once in a while. When I stay glued to the news, focused on FaceBook, obsessed with the latest updates, I am neither healthy nor capable of making wise, objective choices. Some might say, a little cottage cheese goes a long way.
We are Christ-followers. (Or at least we claim to be.) We know that before the news passed the editorial board at the local TV station, it went by Him. He is neither surprised nor dismayed by what we face today. He said, “In this world, you will have “viruses” (my loose translation) but be of good cheer, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!” That was true for the disciples in the upper room and it is still true for us today. At Branches we are serious about taking precautions and being proactive. We are wiping every surface, offering tele-counseling, we even took the toys out of all of our waiting rooms. But that is not where our comfort lies. Our comfort lies in the Christ, the Conqueror of death, hell, and the grave. We trust the one that said, “Rise up and walk.” “Be healed, your faith has made you whole.” And, “Peace! Be still.” The Psalmist said, “I would have lost hope had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13-14)
Here are some very practical suggestions if the frenzied fear of the FaceBook followers is getting you down:
1. Limit the amount of media intake you get. Set a daily limit. I will watch an hour of news in the morning and an hour at night. I will be on FaceBook 30 minutes, three times a day.
2. Balance the new news with the OLD news. Stay in the Word of God. Find three or four Psalms, Psalm 23, 27, 121, 139, for example. Read them several times every day.
3. Find a safe, reasonable person and talk your fears out. Most of the things we keep in our heads lose their power when they are brought out into the light.
4. Read the miracles of Jesus in Mark, or His care for people in John and make a list of the many great things He has done for you in days past.
5. Finally, claim your inheritance. Read Ephesians 1 and 2 and make a list of all of the things it says about you. “I am chosen. I am raised with Christ. I am ALIVE. I am called.” Make that list and then say it out loud every morning and every evening for the next two weeks.
Listen, the coronavirus is a bad deal. But it does not hold a candle to the power of OUR Christ to prepare, protect, and provide. He loves you with an everlasting love and He has got this. Be aware. Take appropriate steps. But keep your trust in the ONLY one, the ONLY thing that deserves our confidence. Put your trust in Him. Take this cottage cheese I’m getting ready to eat. It says “Throw away after June 2019.” I don’t trust that. It’s got to still be good!