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Guest: Dr. George Barna

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April 21, 2020

A Pandemic of Isolationism

In the song "Holy Now" (written by Peter Mayer) the question is asked, "Does God still perform miracles?" The answer in the song is beautiful. It declares that the difficult thing isn't finding miracles, it's finding where there isn't one. The same can be said of the question "How does the Holy Spirit work?" I would answer like Peter Mayer did in his song. The difficult thing isn't finding where the Holy Spirit works in the life of the Christian, it's finding where the Holy Spirit does not.

It is a miracle to see the Holy Spirit change a life. The spiritual connection found in the community of believers is a cauldron for the Holy Spirit to do its most powerful work. Unfortunately, we live in a time where it's easy to be consumed with false relationships. We gaze into internet-connected screens which promise social connection, networks of friends and digital fulfillment. But we are left feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.

Research shows that social media leads to depression1 and, I believe, away from authentic relationship. We have been infected by another pandemic not called COVID-19: A pandemic of isolationism has spread through our country and is becoming more evident during this new culture of social distancing. We are all deeply affected by the subtleness of the evil one who has duped us into believing that we are self-sufficient and strong enough. We have been fooled into believing that we are weak if we need anyone but ourselves.

It is foolish to think we can do it on our own. This is a great lie that many have listened to and believed. The Israelites repeatedly thought they knew better than God.2 We, like the Israelites, have asserted ourselves as sufficient and in no need of a savior. The bride has forgotten the bridegroom.

It is terrifying for me to consider the trajectory of my life if not for the course adjustments by the Holy Spirit. I used to think that if I prayed hard enough, if I was quiet enough and patient enough that I would hear the Lord speak to me. All of this "I" talk is not about surrender. It is about self-sufficiency and isolation, and it is not how we were created to live. We were created to live like Christ—in relationship.

Practically speaking, how do we find healing from the pandemic of isolationism? Listen to what the Lord instructed Moses to do when the Israelites cried out for healing.3 The Lord told Moses to have the Israelites look upon the bronze snake (staff of Asclepius). This symbol has lived on today as a medical emblem, but there is a better one. The gospel of John says, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up."4

Our souls yearn for a relationship with our Creator, our Savior. Just like the Israelites who sinned against God, we yearn for healing. Instead of looking at a bronze snake, we have been given Christ and we can look upon him now. As the evangelist wrote in the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross":

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

No true fulfillment can be found in isolation and self-sufficiency. We were created for the opposite. So, look up. True healing can only be found in a relationship with the One who hung on a Cross for you.

1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#5740e0842e5a
2. Deuteronomy 32:18, Jeremiah 2:2, 3:20, 31:32, Hosea 1:2, 11:1-4
3. Numbers 21-4-9
4. John 3:14

Dr. Dobson interviews Dr. Erik Axene on the daily broadcast.

On this broadcast, Dr. Erik Axene, an ER doctor in Texas, shares his perspective on this COVID-19 crisis. He joined Dr. Dobson by video call and discussed his taxing schedule and described the difficulty of being quarantined away from his family.

Listen to Day 1

On day 2, Dr. Axene breaks down this pandemic's mental and emotional toll on medical personnel. Listen to what the public can do to take care of themselves and combat this outbreak.

Listen to Day 2

Learn More about the Guest

Dr. Erik Axene is a physician in McKinney, Texas. He also serves as medical director for the Town of Prosper and multiple other municipalities in the Dallas area. Dr. Axene works nationally as a healthcare consultant for Axene Health Partners, LLC. He also works for the NFL as a physician for the Dallas Cowboys. In 2018, Dr. Axene won physician of the year honors for the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex. He was recently awarded "Physician of the Year" by Envision Physician Services, the largest physician group in the United States. Dr. Axene is co-founder of SOMSA, a grassroots organization dedicated to helping men become better husbands, better fathers, better friends, and better workers through the power of the Holy Spirit. Erik lives in the town of Prosper, Texas with his wife Deborah, and their two children, Benjamin and Emily.

Erik Axene

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