Friday, April 17, 2020

Outdoor Object Lesson 110: Virus Problems



Key Verse

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “This man didn’t sin, nor did his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him." John 9:1-3 (WEB)


Lesson

Talk of viruses usually causes feelings of concern and fear. This is understandable as a virus infection can be painful or even deadly. Viruses are one of the smallest "bugs" that can make you sick. Yet they are one of the most deadly. Medications to treat virus infections are less prevalent than for other infectious "bugs" like bacteria and fungi. Viruses seem like evil little robots that seek to destroy everything they come in contact with.

What exactly is a virus? Many assume they are another microscopic organism similar to bacteria or fungi. But they are very different. Viruses are not classified as living organisms. They are unable to reproduce on their own. The smallest living organism is the cell. Viruses are only a tiny fraction the size of a living cell and are missing many of the components of a cell. Viruses carry a tiny bit of DNA or RNA, the genetic code inside every living cell. When they come in contact with a cell, they inject their bit of DNA into that cell. That DNA is read by the cell and then it makes hundreds of new viruses until the cell bursts releasing all the new viruses. This is how viruses reproduce.1

Viruses sound pretty bad. But viruses have good qualities too. Some viruses live inside your gut. Many of these are unharmful and even beneficial. Some known as -phages, attack and kill bacteria that might make you sick.2 Other viruses live in other areas of your body. Some of these include the viruses that cause chicken pox and cold sores. These latent viruses are important because they activate killer cells in your immune system that help keep you well.3  Thirdly, viruses offer a unique opportunity to treat genetic diseases. Because they carry a bit of DNA and inject this into a cell, scientists believe that they may be able to treat and possibly cure genetic diseases in the future. The idea is that scientists will build a virus that carries a piece of DNA to correct the messed up DNA causing the disease. One day, viruses may help more people than they make sick.

As humans we often see the world in black and white, good and evil. We assign a 'good' label to things we like and a 'bad' label to things we don't. But this is not what the Bible teaches. We will face many difficulties in this life like sickness and death. But these are not necessarily punishments from God. As Jesus says in the key text, these are opportunities for God to show his strength. Jesus did not promise an easy life. He promised exactly the opposite. But he also taught we have a Father above who cares about us. This Father wants to make every thing we go through work out for our good. In the end, he will!

Questions

If God allows evil things to happen to good people, does that make him unjust?

How does it make you feel when God lets you experience painful things in life?

What other promises did Jesus give us for when we face difficult things?

How do you feel about getting sick now after competing this study?

Sources

1. https://www.britannica.com/science/virus
2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327167#From-symbiosis-to-dysbiosis
3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430170750.htm

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via www.pixabay.com


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