“It’s humbling.” The owner of a small business was relating to me his feelings about the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 crisis. We had just met, striking up conversation while waiting for an appointment. He had around 70 employees in his manufacturing company and he was scrambling to keep ahead of events. This was in the early days of the virus’ impact in the U.S., and the lockdown had not yet been enacted. He was struggling to digest a flurry of national, state, and local guidelines, writing and rewriting company policies, and grappling with how to keep employees safe and protected. His business was not “essential,” and few of his employees could telecommute, so the future was troubling to him.
But I was struck by his comment: “It’s humbling.” While concerned for this man’s situation, I couldn’t help but be impressed by his attitude. He was truly sobered. He was expressing his response in a way that demonstrated recognition that he didn’t have all the answers—and that he would have to seek help beyond himself.
You don’t hear much about humility these days. We don’t applaud the humble; we praise the arrogant. All too often, we pump into our children the message that being sure of ourselves and self-confident is the real key to success in life. And one radical slice of society has even adopted the word “pride” as its calling card, as though arrogance and audacity is to be admired!
When King Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem to God, he prayed that God would intervene for His people when they faced calamity. God’s response to Solomon is one of the most beautiful and encouraging passages of the whole Bible: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Among other things, this verse speaks of the importance of approaching God with humility when we cry out for help.
A Bible verse about humility is not just sentimental nicety, not just a pleasant phrase to put on a plaque or share on social media. It’s a way of life. Humility must become our way of viewing ourselves and where we fit in the universe. It must become how we understand our relationship with our Creator, especially in times of distress.
Now, more than ever, is the time for humility.
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