Summary: There’s a response for us in the midst of calamities.
WHAT TO DO WITH SARS AND WARS
2Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. …” 3Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought the LORD for guidance. He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast. 4So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the LORD.
5Jehoshaphat …prayed, "O LORD, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! 7O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8Your people settled here and built this Temple for you. 9They said, `Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, disease, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’…
12O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help." 2 Chron.20: 2-12 (NLT)
(April 2, 2003 on CNN) One of Wall Street’s leading economists is predicting a global recession this year, prompted in large part by fears surrounding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the "mystery illness" with cold-like symptoms that is blamed for 78 deaths in 15 countries, CNNfn has learned.
Morgan Stanley’s chief economist in the United States, Stephen Roach, will formally advise clients Friday that he’s forecasting a world recession in 2003. His previous forecast was for an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent.
Roach told CNNfn that SARS is "just another nail on the coffin for the world economy." And slower global growth, he said, will impact U.S. exports.
"War, uncertainty and disease are a tough combination for any economy," Stephen Roach said in the report.
"But for an unbalanced and vulnerable world, this confluence of shocks hurts all the more. For the industrial world as a whole, an economic contraction now appears to be under way."
"You’ve got war, SARS, uncertainty, and imbalances that will prevail after the war is over and until a cure for the disease is found," Roach said.
Air Canada (ACNAF: Research, Estimates) blamed the disease for contributing to its financial plight as it filed for bankruptcy Tuesday. An airline spokeswoman said SARS had brought a reduction in flights between Canada and Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.
Of the 2,223 cases of SARS confirmed by the World Health Organization, 1,898 occurred in mainland China and Hong Kong.
What can we do?
1. FOCUS ON GOD NOT THE CALAMITY (v.3-4)
“Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought the LORD for guidance”
Certainly if we just focus only on the calamities, they will overwhelm us. Just as Jehoshaphat was alarmed when he heard the news of the planned invasion of war breaking out.
a. Bad news is calamities happen to all.
Even to good folks: “A righteous man may have many troubles but the LORD delivers them from all their troubles.” Ps.34:19 (NIV)
b. It can happen in an instant.
“Disaster follows disaster…In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.” Jer.4:20 (NIV)
c. God specializes in turning what others meant for evil into good.
Bible Illus: Story of Joseph
Bible Illus: Story of church’s persecution and Saul
7 Then they put their hands over their ears, and drowning out his voice with their shouts, they rushed at him. 58 They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And he fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
8 Saul was one of the official witnesses at the killing of Stephen.
A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem, and all the believers except the apostles fled into Judea and Samaria. 2 (Some godly people came and buried Stephen with loud weeping.) 3 Saul was going everywhere to devastate the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into jail. 4 But the believers who had fled Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus.
Bible Illus: Jesus’ death provided for us peace with God (Rom.4:25,5:1)