Popular sayings come and go, but “have a great day,” or a close variant, has been a parting blessing among people for over fifty years. Why don’t we hear much of that anymore?
People anticipate danger ahead.
Encouragement has no value when we live in fear and can’t see a way out. We can’t think about having a “great day” when we’re worried that we might soon die. We gain no comfort from the FEAR acronym of “false evidence appearing real,” because we can’t escape the reality we choose to believe. When the fear is real, we like encouragement to “stay safe” and have little use for “have a great day.”
Talking through a mask confirms our faith.
Our masks tell everyone in society that we’re not safe. We’re all going to die. That’s always been true, but now we have the COVID reminder of imminent death. If we’re not careful, that fear can steal our trust in God and his gift of life.
Every year in the US, common colds and flu kill about 30,000 people. Some 40,000 people die from driving accidents. But COVID, flu, and driving accidents are nothing compared to the 2.5 million  more who will die from old age, natural disasters, disease, violence, and other causes.
Death is real. It always has been. Should we fear? Absolutely, but only if we don’t know the Lord.
I might die today.
On August 20, 2020, I was sitting comfortably at home, hearing the downpour outside. I saw a flash of lightning, heard the thunder, and felt the ground quake. If my neighbor across the street hadn’t happened to take a picture at that moment, I never would have known how close to death I was. The huge bolt of lightning struck right behind the house and then flashed in front of my house, between the ground and the tree.
Some people fear storms, earthquakes, or an asteroid striking Earth. Since people have been struck by lightning on a clear day, shouldn’t we know that the threat of death is everywhere?
Absolutely.
But we who know the Lord don’t have to fear, because we are safe in his hands. We don’t need the advice to “stay safe.” We might not need a mask. We certainly can enjoy someone saying, “Have a great day.”
If the Lord isn’t watching over us, our attempts to keep ourselves safe will be in vain. — Psalm 127:1, The Discussion Bible