/ Ebola / Richard Holdeman

Crisis Management

The current Ebola epidemic has dwarfed all previous outbreaks of this potent and deadly virus. Since it was first discovered in 1976 variants of the Ebola virus have infected 2,387 people in 24 distinct outbreaks of the disease. Of those infected, the disease has killed 1,590 (67%). That was until the current outbreak in West Africa, which is thought to have infected almost 10,000 people and to have killed over 4,500 to date. At its current rate of increase, The World Health Organization (WHO) is estimating that there will be over 20,000 cases by the end of next week.

In addition to killing more people than all the previous Ebola outbreaks combined, the current outbreak is the first in which a victim died in the United States. It is also the first time that a person has been infected with the virus while on U.S. soil. Perhaps this variant of the virus is really no different from strains in previous outbreaks. To the casual observer it appears that the current viral strain is much more effective at getting around. The epidemiology of this outbreak seems to point in that direction. Interestingly, health officials in our country have been adamant that they understand exactly how Ebola is transmitted and have insisted that it is very difficult to get. That may, indeed, be true; however, wishing it to be true is not the same thing as it actually being true. It would be nice to hear someone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admit that we might not know all that there is to know about the current strain of Ebola and that serious caution (not panic) is in order.

Of course, that would make sense if the number one priority in dealing with the situation is the medical/health issues involved. Good doctors admit uncertainty all the time. Unfortunately, it appears that the number one priority in the current case is managing the political aspects of the crisis. This is the only way one can explain the choice of a lawyer with no medical training to be the administration’s point man (“czar”) on Ebola. Someone is clearly hoping that the medical problem will go away and that the political fallout of allowing the disease to come to our shores will be effectively managed.

This, my friends, is the way the natural man thinks about many of his potential problems. That is to say he does not think about them seriously at all. He wishes them away while trying to manage the fallout. There is one, terrible problem facing each and every one of us. The problem is not Ebola; it is death. Death is the problem that no one will escape. The Bible tells us, “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJ). Death and judgment await all of us. But what is the most common response? We wish it away. The strategy is similar to the way our political leaders are dealing with the Ebola problem. You manage the narrative and hope the actual problem of sin and judgment goes away. This strategy may appear to work for a time, but, ultimately, there will be a reckoning.

Thank God that Jesus did not come to manage your sin problem. He came to destroy sin and death and to bring you true healing and salvation. He bore our sins and he healed our diseases. Let the Great Physician solve your greatest crisis for you.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 NKJ).

Richard Holdeman

Richard Holdeman

Called to faith in 1987; to marry Amy in 1989; to coach college hockey in 1992; to have daughters in 1996; to teach at I.U. in 1997; to pastor the Bloomington Reformed Presbyterian Church in 2005.

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