The USNS Comfort has arrived at New York Harbor.
The massive hospital ship will provide medical help to a city overwhelmed with rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. The USNS Comfort’s sister ship, the USNS Mercy, has already been deployed and is moored in Los Angeles. It has been serving patients since Sunday.
New York City has already converted the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center into a temporary hospital. It is setting up another field hospital in Central Park. The USNS Comfort will provide medical services to those not afflicted by coronavirus, hoping to relieve some of the stress on hospitals that are struggling to treat patients with the disease.
The image of the USNS Comfort sailing past the Statue of Liberty is one I expect to see for many days to come.
The best way to live every day
Every step we take in helping those suffering from this horrific disease is obviously a step worth taking. But there’s another reality COVID-19 is forcing us to consider: the fact that we will all die sometime of something, unless the Lord returns first.
Paradoxically, mortality does not need to be a morbid thought. To the contrary, it can provide a powerful incentive to live with joyful purpose.
The writer of Ecclesiastes noted: “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Few except our parents remember the day of our birth or its circumstances. But many will remember the day of our death and how our lives ended.
It’s sometimes said: where you start the race isn’t important; it’s where you end that matters. This is not entirely true, of course. Where you start the race can be relevant to running the race. If you’re at the back of the pack, you have more distance to make up and more runners to pass.
But the larger sentiment is worth remembering: runners run the race to win. In this sense, as Ecclesiastes 7 notes, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning” (v. 8).
You and I are one day closer to the finish of the race than ever before. We are wise to live every day in preparation for that day, knowing that one day we will be right.
Even if I survive coronavirus and live another thirty years, the best way to live every day is to live as if it were my last day. If there are people I need to forgive, it is best for me to forgive them now. If there are people from whom I need to seek forgiveness, it is best for me to seek it now.
Randy Alcorn noted: “He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain.
“He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice. Are you despairing or rejoicing?”
It’s an excellent question, don’t you think?