Help and hope in the hardest times

By Chuck Norris

Our country and world is in the midst of an epic battle with an invisible enemy called COVID-19. Nearly every state in our union is now living under shelter-in-place mandates. And our front-line warriors and heroes are medical personnel treating the stricken and scientists scurrying to discover a vaccine and cure.

My wife, Gena, and I hear from many people across our nation who are suffering the consequences of this pandemic. We so wish we can answer and hug them all. Over 6 million Americans have lost their jobs in just a few weeks. Multitudes are separated from loved ones because of sickness or just being susceptible to the coronavirus. Worst of all, thousands have already lost loved ones because of it. We feel all their pain.

At the same time that we are experiencing grave loss, our country and world are learning many painful lessons. As advanced as we are, we’re not prepared for every threat or disaster. None of us is immune to viruses or tragedy. The best of our securities in this life (money, job, health and relationships) often falter and even fail when put in the pressure cooker of loss and untenable futures. We’re really not in control. And in the end, we’re all just mortal.

While there are glimmers of hope right now, for most this present darkness seems foreboding and bleak. Too many feel helpless and hopeless.

Well, I’d like to bring a little help and hope to you and yours during this Easter (Holy) Week.

Though I’m greatly concerned about the size of our national debt, I’m grateful for how the U.S. federal government has stepped in to help in a time of national crisis like 9/11.

If you don’t know the 13 specific benefits of the 2020 CARE Act for families, workers, businesses and the retired too, from stimulus checks to expanded unemployment benefits, click here.

For stimulus benefits for Social Security recipients and elderly, click here.

For small business guidance and loans, including help with payroll, click here.

For the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), click here.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, there’s extra spiritual help for all of us this very week.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe this pandemic is occurring by chance as Holy Week rises up like the sun rises over the horizon. Easter brings help and hope to the darkest times like the sun’s rays bursting through the stormiest clouds.

I’m not a preacher nor do I pretend to be. But Gena and I are Christians, and I’ll be honest: Our faith is the primary anchor for our souls. It’s the one thing that offers us true peace, hope and a remedy against fear.

This seems like an awkward time for humor, but even novice psychologists would tell us that “laughter is the best medicine.” It won’t eradicate a virus, but it will encourage a downcast spirit. Even America’s bravest know that levity can leverage our burdens, even during times of war.

In fact, it was primarily for our troops during the Iraqi war that I wrote my “Official Chuck Norris Fact [Joke] Book.” In it are my 101 favorite “Chuck Norris Facts” or memes and stories about my life.

“Chuck Norris Facts” started over a decade ago and are still even being quoted and created today. For example, the other day someone sent me this one: “Chuck Norris contracted the coronavirus. Now the virus is in quarantine for 14 days!” That’s funny, and I’d be overjoyed to cripple the power of this evil virus anytime and anywhere. But the truth is even humor is ill-equipped to bring relief when a deadly disease is proliferating our cities.

So, let me quote from what I believe is the most inspirational story and my most favorite entry in my book. It’s the last one: No. 101. I’m quoting it verbatim. You’ll see why.

No. 101

“Chuck Norris’s tears can cure cancer. It’s too bad he’s never cried.”

Let’s be honest …

If my tears could cure cancer, I would cry a million of them. Of course, that is only wishful thinking. But I do know of a substance that can cure the soul.

Mom raised my brothers and me in the Christian faith. We didn’t just attend church and Sunday school (which she taught, by the way); she also read to us from the Bible, prayed with us, and modeled a life of love. Nothing was forced down our throats – it was just lived out in front of us every day. I am who I am today because of my mom’s influence. [She’ll be 99 years young on May 4!]

I was twelve years old when I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and was baptized at Calvary Baptist Church, where our family attended. As a young man, I recommitted my life to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles.

I’ve always maintained my faith throughout my martial arts, movie, and television careers, but there was also a time when I lost my way. As resilient as I thought I was, I swallowed the hook of the Hollywood lifestyle.

Mom continued to pray for me throughout those years, and I’m convinced that’s how and why God brought Gena into my life. She is a beacon of God’s light and love, just as my mom is. Gena brought me back to my childhood faith – in which compromise was unbecoming, transparency was a virtue, humility was required, and belief was daily practiced. We’ve always respected all religions and those who hold differing beliefs, but we are unashamed Christians.

On Easter Sunday 2009, I experienced another highlight in my spiritual life. I recommitted my life to Christ yet again, but this time with my household. Gena, our eight-year-old twins at the time, and I all recommitted our lives to Christ and were baptized together by our chaplain. What an absolute joy it was to watch my loved ones go into those sacred waters on our Texas ranch and to hear them affirm their belief and recommitment to follow Jesus.

Watching them, I thought about the place in the Bible where Paul and Silas were miraculously freed from a jail cell. The jailer was so moved by the event that he asked them, “What must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Then the jailer and all his family were baptized.

As our chaplain leaned me back and fully immersed me in the water, I thought about all I had been through in my life and all I still wanted my life to be. I felt renewed, refreshed, and cleansed, with the waters that are a symbol of Christ’s forgiving blood. As I came up with water flowing off my head and body, I prayed as my mom has prayed every day of her life: “For your glory, Lord. For your glory!”

Every Easter I reminisce about our baptisms. Every Easter is a powerful reminder of a day that changed history, and I’m not talking about the bunny. The physical Resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian religion and our personal faith. It reset the course of humanity, and has indelibly changed the hearts of billions, including Gena and me.

Through Jesus’ Resurrection, we not only learn that his teachings were true but also his entire ministry. Dying was His reason for living. And by rising from the dead, we understand that He can be our continual Helper and Hope every day. He promised His followers, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

He not only committed to be with us through the good and hard times of this life, but to provide the way and help us as we transition from this life into the next.

Jesus said in John 11:25-26: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (As our pastor says, “At death, we just put in for a change of address!”)

If we answer Jesus’ question in the affirmative, we will not only have peace with God and be blessed in this life by His continual presence; we will be blessed in the afterlife by the free gift of eternal life. It is a life that will ultimately deliver us from the diseases, toils and tyrants of this world into a life the Bible describes as “no pain, grief, sorrow or tears.” Can you imagine?

Our friend, spiritual mentor and prolific Christian author, Randy Alcorn, who has also deeply struggled with his beloved wife Nanci’s three-year battle with cancer, explained it in an almost poetic and perfect way:

“Hope is the light at the end of life’s tunnel. It not only makes the tunnel endurable, it fills the heart with anticipation of the world into which we will one day emerge. Not just a better world, but a new and perfect world. A world alive, fresh, beautiful, devoid of pain and suffering and war, a world without disease, without accident, without tragedy. A world without dictators and madmen. A world ruled by the only one worthy of ruling.” (Bold mine.)

Now, that’s great Easter news and chicken soup for every soul!

(If you want to explore faith more, I encourage you to download this FREE E-Copy of the book, “God Questions: Exploring Life’s Greatest Questions About God,” which tackles your tough questions about God and gives evidence to go with it. Please click HERE.)

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