Just six months ago the world was virtually paralyzed with fear that the Ebola virus would become a global epidemic infecting and killing victims by the hundreds of thousands. Headlines dominated the news media warning of the deadly implications of Ebola. Many were near panic when a Liberian man died of the disease in Dallas and a nurse attending him was diagnosed with Ebola after flying to Chicago.
When Dr. Kent Brantly and his nurse were flown to the U. S. for treatment after contracting Ebola in their efforts to treat victims in Liberia, many cringed. Some questioned the wisdom of transporting known carriers of the disease to American hospitals. But Dr. Brantly and Nurse Nancy Writebol survived.
When asked about his treatment and recovery, Dr. Brantly was clearly convinced that the real secret to his recovery was prayer. Brantly said, “The people in the room taking care of me, they began praying over me. What I didn’t know at the time is that there were also people outside my house praying for me.” He thoughtfully added, “There were thousands of people, including my teammates there in Liberia who were begging the Lord to save my life.”
Many more hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, prayed. Web sites like praytoendebola.org were set up. People were urged to pray for the people of West Africa that they would be receptive to preventive practices, to pray for the medical teams fighting the disease, for the medical research and for the victims. Thousands risked their lives and traveled to West Africa to fight the disease, including doctors, nurses, medical staff and U.S. troops.
We should continue our prayers. There is still no proven treatments for Ebola or immunizations to prevent its spread.
But now that the Ebola outbreak has been reduced to near zero, and our troops are being called home, it is time to give thanks. We should thank the men and women who risked their lives to fight the disease. And we should give thanks to God who has abundantly answered our prayers.
For some reason, when we are desperate, we are anxious and ready to pray. But when we are rescued, we are slow to give thanks. Jesus once healed ten lepers and sent them to show themselves to the priest according to the Jewish custom for healing. Afterward, of the ten, only one returned to thank Him. “Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:11-17).