Wearing a Mask Helps Me Rely on God

My decision to wear a mask indoors and outside, except when with my family, began earlier this year when my father-in-law and mother-in-law were hospitalized with COVID 19; they both ultimately passed. I have even learned things from wearing a mask. For example, I have discovered that I am very prone to touching my face. Wearing a mask is a constant practical reminder not to touch my face. Lastly, I have discovered that wearing a mask helps me stay in the present, the face cover reminding me that I need to rely on God, not myself.

I do not wear a mask because I believe a face covering will protect me. I wear a mask because there is evidence it may protect others by reducing the transmission of COVID from exhaled air droplets (Nature article). I hope that wearing a mask sends a positive message that I care about others more than myself. I do not want to communicate to others that by wearing a mask I pass judgment on people who do not wear a mask.

I have highlighted several articles in this blog post that I have read over the last several months, from the CDC, universities, from Christian organizations and several newspapers. It is interesting for me to learn about various reasons people have to wear a mask.

Sometimes, I feel fear as I put on my mask, other times anxiety, yet other times I feel a sense of peace and gratitude. These feelings are a constant reminder that “old controlling Todd” is not in charge, but rather God is in control. Wearing a mask not only helps remind me to pray, but to also rely on God a little more than the previous day.

John 16:33 (ESV) “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I find peace within the words of John 16:33, as I continue to desire to get closure to our God.

* * *

“In 1910, 10,000 hunters rushed into a region in northeast China that sits on the border with Russia. They were searching for an animal called a tarbagan marmot that made its home in underground burrows there and was valued for its pelts.

Fur was high fashion in Europe. German tradesmen had recently devised a way to dye cheaper marmot pelts to look like more expensive mink and sable.  Prices for marmot quadrupled, sending throngs of foreigners to scour the forests of Manchuria for the shrieking, toaster-sized rodents, which are relatives of squirrels.

These hunters are the reason we are all wearing face masks today.”

The Forgotten Science Behind Face Masks, August 26, 2020, By Brenda Goodman, MA, Web MD

* * *

“New research suggests that face coverings help reduce the transmission of droplets, though some masks are more protective than others”

Face Masks Really Do Matter. The Scientific Evidence Is Growing. – July 27, 2020 – Wall Street Journal

* * *

“CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings – Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 – Updated July 16, 2020 – Centers for Design Control and Prevention

* * *

“The latest forecast from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that 33,000 deaths could be avoided by October 1 if 95 percent of people wore masks in public.”

Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus – June 26, 2020 – Nina Bai – University of California – San Francisco (This story was updated on July 11 to include information on why valved masks do not block exhaled droplets)

* * *

Scientists say we should wear masks to control the spread of COVID-19. Stanford experts share the evidence that informed the World Health Organization’s recommendations.

5 Questions: Stanford scientists on COVID-19 mask guidelines – June 19, 2020 – Stanford Medicine

* * *

“The mask as a social nuge. Some argue that ubiquitous mask wearing, as a very visual reminder of the dangers of the virus, could actually act as a “behavioural nudge” to you and others for overall better personal hygiene.

Putting on a mask every day before you go out is like a ritual, like putting on a uniform, and in ritual behaviour you feel you have to live up to what the uniform stands for, which is more hygienic behaviour like not touching your face or avoiding crowded places and social distancing,” said Donald Low, a behavioural economist and professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.”

Coronavirus: Why some countries wear face masks and others don’t – Tessa Wong – BBC News Singapore

* * *

“There’s a lot at stake for Christian witness during COVID-19. Do we want the non-believing world to look at Christians as reckless virus super-spreaders who put their own freedoms (to gather in person as soon as possible, to not wear masks unless absolutely mandated) ahead of the health of their larger community? Or do we want them to look at Christians as “servants to all,” willing to forego their freedoms out of Christlike neighbor love? 

If the small annoyance of wearing masks can help not only save lives but also souls, winning more to the gospel, isn’t it worth it?”

4 Reasons to Wear a Mask, Even if You Hate It – July 1, 2020 – Brett McCracken – The Gospel Coalition

* * *

“One of the other things that informed our decision is that first in April and May, we surveyed our churches. We also surveyed other churches in the Atlanta area. We wanted to discover what it would take for people to come back. Then two weeks ago, we surveyed again. Here’s the interesting thing: about 15% fewer people in the second survey said they were ready to come back. There was less inclination to come back, not more. That helped us make the decision to focus 100% of our time and energy on creating community online. We are going to have some on-campus gatherings, but they’re going to be smaller. They’re going to be focused. So the church is not closed. We are just reallocating assets to actually impact the maximum number of people during this crazy time.”

Andy Stanley Explains Why His Megachurch Won’t Gather on Sundays Until 2021 – July 15, 2020 – Ed Stetlzer, Executive Director, Wheaton College Billy Graham Center – Christianity Today

* * *

“If you are undecided about whether or not to wear a mask these days, here’s another piece of data to consider: Jesus would wear a face mask. If you aren’t a Christian, I understand that is irrelevant information. But for those of us who claim to be followers of Christ and are still on the fence, it ought to be the deciding factor.”

NC pastor: Jesus would wear a mask – May 24, 2020 – Kate Murphy – The Charlotte Observer

* * *

“I also want to encourage you to wear your masks in public,” the Wichita pastor said, standing at his pulpit and holding up a blue face mask.

“This is an act of loving our neighbor. This is an act of faith. It’s something we do as followers of Jesus.

“And please, do not fall prey to the persons who say this is a political statement. It is not,” Gannon continued. “It’s a Christian statement, and thank you for bearing witness to the love of neighbor in this way.”

What would Jesus do? Wear a mask, says Wichita pastor – June 23, 2020 – Suzanne Perez Tobias – The Wichita Eagle

* * *

“Wearing a mask is not about protecting ourselves from the virus; it’s about protecting others from us. It is well documented that COVID-19 is contagious even when we are not symptomatic. It is also believed that a majority of people who are infected may never be symptomatic. Scientists do not yet understand why some people never develop symptoms and other people do. So we are being asked to wear masks in public not just to slow the spread of the disease, but just in case we have COVID-19 and come into close contact with one of those people who might contract the virus and die as a result.”

To mask or not to mask during COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t even be a question – May 11, 2020 – Rev. Tim Reynolds – The Knoxville News

* * *

“Others are in denial about their susceptibility to infection or risk of being a carrier, and some folks just aren’t willing to comply with anything Big Brother suggests, even wearing a mask.”

Why doesn’t everyone wear a mask? – May 21, 2020 – Dave Hinman is Pastoral Elder at Dove Church Wilmington – News Journal, Wilmington, OH

* * *

“In his first interview since Westmore Church of God became the focus of a regional outbreak of COVID-19, the church’s lead pastor Kelvin Page said the church should have taken masks more seriously as a precaution and that the church is no longer tracking the number of confirmed cases in the congregation.”

Cleveland pastor says he got COVID-19, gave up counting Church of God members infected – July 12, 2020 – Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc.

* * *

Two congregations in Garfield County have COVID-19 spread among members. Contact tracing investigations are underway into these houses of worship in an effort to stop further potential spread of the virus.

COVID-19 OUTBREAKS ARISE IN LOCAL FAITH-BASED GROUPS – July 31, 2020 – City of Garfield Country, Colorado website

About GettingCloserToOurGod

This blog is written by Todd Christenson. He was raised in Nebraska and currently lives on Long Island in New York. Though out my childhood, my family attended church. We prayed together at meals. I thought I was prepared for life. After college, I moved to New York City. Shy, unsure of myself, building an identity in worldly things, increasingly prideful, self-righteousness, a controlling nature. In 2013, God spoke through someone, suggesting I confess my sins. I did. I realized that every day, I’d been glorifying myself, not God. Today, God’s teaching me to have my identity in Him, only, my dependency in Him, not myself, being who He wants me to be, not the world, loving Him first, loving others as myself.
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