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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)

TITLE: The Revival Virus
By Brian Passe


Growing up in a small Minnesota town in the 1950’s life was simpler and we had neighbors who talked to each other. There were many good things about that time but one word that terrified everyone was “outbreak.” That word was always associated with polio. I remember towns, or sections of towns, being quarantined to help prevent the spread of the disease. When word arrived of a nearby town being quarantined our parents instinctively called us into the house. The disease was so terrifying that the natural response was to gather the family and hold us close and pray that it would not spread.

America has lead the way in pioneering new medicines and eradicating once deadly diseases. Epidemics that once crippled thousands are remembered only in history books. Younger generations are blessed with vaccinations against once formidable diseases. I have traveled with medical teams on mission trips to countries that still have outbreaks of diseases. The terror shown in the parents faces are the same that I remember in my small Midwestern town. It must be a primal response that causes parents to draw in and shelter their children because that’s what I saw in each village we visited. I did not need to speak the language to understand the fear in their eyes.

The most telling difference in generations is what comes to mind when they hear the words “outbreak” and “virus.” My generation thinks of conquered diseases; my daughter’s generation, on hearing of an outbreak of a virus, scans their computer for any lurking destructive software. Taking preventive steps to avoid a virus does not include a vaccination to the generation who has lived only in the digital age. My son-in-law can spend hours building, repairing and programing computers that withstand the strongest virus. He talks in a code that makes my eyes water and head spin. He’s as vigilant to protect his home against a digital virus as my parents were in responding to a biological virus.

When I compare the times my parents grew up and my generation’s time I think my parents had many more challenges. Each generation has its challenges and triumphs and it’s easy to think our time was the most difficult. My parents saw the outbreak of a world war and my generation saw an outbreak of drug abuse. One generation grew stronger from its challenge and, unfortunately, my generation still suffers the scourge of drug abuse.

My daughter and son-in-law’s generation face many challenges. One very real challenge today is the destructive force of digital viruses. At first we viewed digital viruses as an interesting nuisance that showed the technical skills of a class called “computer nerds.” That once childish prank has now turned into a battleground between nations and organized crime. Its destructive power can shut down companies or steal millions of credit card numbers for sale on a black market.

So which generation faced, or faces, the greatest outbreak? The one that sheltered children from crippling diseases; the one that lived with shattered lives of drug users; or the generation that will live its life with an unseen global digital virus? Perhaps the different outbreaks cannot be compared because they are so divergent. Each, however, brings a fear that can be compared. Fear is fear and its overwhelming effect can be felt physically and emotionally.

No one wants to experience these listed outbreaks because they all bring pain. What, however, would be our response to an outbreak of revival? Would it not bring tears of hope and joy? The light of Christ can penetrate the darkest of souls and countries. His light brings joy even in an outbreak of sadness or terror. No worldly force can stop the Holy Spirit from giving people the strength of breaking out from the bondage of sin. I think an outbreak of redemption and grace would be welcomed by all. His mercy and love is an outbreak that each generation can experience and pass on to another generation. An outbreak of Christ is one that all can receive and never fear its spread from town to town or country to country.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay04/16/11
very clever the way you linked the anxieties of the past "outbreaks" of disease and the present fears of digital viruses and then rounded it off with the good infectious power of the Gospel :-) There was alot to fit in here and i am sure you would have liked at least a whole chapter for each !
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/18/11
This is A beautiful piece. I enjoyed how you showed each generations fears and worries. This is a well-written piece that makes one stop and think.
Lillian Rhoades 04/20/11
I love the way you draw a comparison between "viruses," and then bring in the virus one needs never fear. You developed the article well and the progression of ideas was easy to follow.

Just one observation. Instead of writing..."the Holy Spirit from giving people the strength of breaking out from..., a smoother read would be: "the Holy Spirit from giving people the strength to break from...

Your summary was right on!
Great job!