A Selective Focus
Facts not Fear, has been the mantra about Covid-19 over the past few months. It’s ubiquitous! However, despite its presence all around us, I can’t help but think it doesn’t have the impact it once did. In these days of Covid-19, it is easy to become myopic in our approach to the days we live in. In fact, as I listen to the media, read social media posts, and engage in conversations with people literally around the world, I am convinced that fear, not facts, is the rule of the day.
So, with that said, I would like to take a look at the facts we are given from a perspective that is often overlooked, in the hope of encouraging you today.
In photography the term ‘selective focus’ refers to a technique where the photographer selectively focuses on the subject of an image, essentially ignoring all other aspects of the scene. … The contrast of the sharp subject against the soft image background creates powerful, contemplative images. Yet, at the same time skews the image in a way that distorts or changes it, like in the way the image of the city is turned upside down in the selective focus shot, misrepresenting the image as a whole.
Context rules in interpretation
It is important to remember that context rules in interpretation. I have taught this truth regarding studying the Bible for nearly 40 years. However, it is also a life principle.
Let me illustrate this for you.
Your child asks you what R-E-A-D means. You ask them how it is used in the sentence; they look at you as if you have two heads. They read the sentence to you, and only then can you understand and give them an accurate interpretation of the word.
One of your children comes in crying, saying that their sibling just punched them. So, you call the other child into the room, ready to discipline them. When you investigate further, you find out that the tattling child actually destroyed a “building project” the other had been working on all morning. Understanding the context changes the way you handle it.
You see a Facebook post telling you about Christians being persecuted. You are immediately caught up in the emotion of anger and want to find a way to help. But then you find out the news is twelve years old.
Understanding the context changes everything.
We need to bring our emotions in line with the truth.
In recent months I began to realize I was gaining a very narrow focus of the culture of the day. It seemed as if everything was being filtered through the “truth” of Covid-19. I suspect I am not the only one that this happened to. I desperately needed to change my focus if I was going to live by the facts and not fear. I needed some help to know where to start. So, I responded to that need by asking the One in Whom there is no fear.
This is what came to mind.
- What if I approached the COVID updates from a different perspective than the media and other sources present it? (Looking at life rather than death)
- What if I start by putting it into context, rather than lifting it out of context?
- Finally, when I understand the facts in this way, I need not focus on the sources of misinformation, whatever they might be, but instead on the truth from God’s perspective.
So, I started doing just that, and have been for several months now. To help you see the truth for yourself, I want to show you what I found as I played with some numbers this morning.
It is possible we may survive!
Less than 2% of the US has contracted COVID, and 97% of those have recovered.
August 17, 2020
Population of the US – 331,240,477
COVID cases 5,410,000
COVID deaths 170,000
Hamilton County 367,804
COVID cases 6801
COVID deaths 61
If my stats are right:
In the US
1.63% of the population has contracted COVID
3.1% death rate from COVID
0.05 % of the US population has died from COVID
Only 7% of the COVID tests in the US are positive.
1.85% of the population has contracted COVID
0.9% death rate from COVID
0.016% of Hamilton County has died from COVID
98.37% of the US has not contracted COVID
96.9% of those who do have COVID recover.
97.15% of Hamilton County, TN has not contracted COVID
99% of those in Hamilton County recover.
When I refocus and look at Covid-19 in my county and my country from this perspective, rather than focus on all the media reports, articles or interviews with a variety of “experts” from the medical community, I get a better understanding of the truth. But head knowledge of the truth alone doesn’t affect change. Knowledge needs to be accompanied by action; I begin to bring my emotions (fear) in line with the truth and walk as though I believe it to be true. Only then will the fear begin to subside. With each step that I take, to control my emotions and change my focus, the peace of God that exceeds anything we can understand will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus. The fear will be gone.
To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.
So, when the reports of Covid-19 around you begin to stir up fear
Respond – by taking it to the One who has no fear, in prayer. – Philippians 4:6
Refocus – by looking at the truth from God’s perspective and not the world’s. This also means I need to stop focusing on the sources of misinformation that play to my emotions. Colossians 3:2
Remember what God has already done, and what He says He is going to do in regard to life. Do this by setting your mind on things above, not things below. Colossians 3:2
Rest – in knowing that God will do what He said He would do – Psalm 37:7
As I close this out, I do want to say that we aren’t to throw caution to the wind. We are still to be cautious. David and I continue to wash our hands (as we have done since childhood), practice social distancing, wear a mask when we leave the house or in situations where it is impossible to social distance. What we don’t do is fixate on the horizontal, instead we fix our eyes on the vertical, Jesus.