I shared a few thoughts to our church Sunday about how to think through the coronavirus situation in light of the truth and promises of God.
- Pray. I was amazed at how long it took for me to pray for the situation. In the search to find information, read articles, weigh perspectives, I neglected to simply pray. As Christians, may this be our go-to response.
- Know that God is in control. The situation does not ultimately depend on statistics, likely scenarios, the interpretation of evidence, etc. (though these can be helpful). The situation ultimately depends on God’s sovereign hand. There is a place for caution, concern, and wisdom, but a panicked fear is out of place for those who know that God is on the throne.
- Don’t stop loving and serving one another. In situations like this, our first thoughts tend to go towards those closest to us, which is usually those in our home. This is good and right, as we have responsibilities to care for our spouses, children, and parents. But we should not become so insular that we neglect to love and serve others outside of our home, especially our church family. We have responsibilities to these people as well. Perhaps someone is sick and doesn’t want to go out, but needs a meal. Perhaps someone isn’t able to work, and is losing out on money and needs some help. Perhaps someone gets the virus and feels ostracized. May we move past thoughts of self-protection and, like Jesus, being willing to take risks to lovingly, creatively, serve others. At the same time, may we not be too proud to be served ourselves.
- Don’t neglect to gather with one another. Yes, there may be times when it is wise not to gather with the church, and if you are sick, love others by not spreading germs. But every week around the world Christians are willing to take risks–some small, some large—because they value gathering regularly with God’s people. In China, pastors and congregants have been arrested, and church buildings destroyed. In many Muslim-majority nations, there are threats and shootings at churches. This isn’t meant as a guilt trip, but simply to give some perspective: having to consider matters of safety in gathering as a church is nothing new, but historically quite normal. Again, be wise and loving. But don’t quickly dismiss the value of regularly gathering with you church family, hearing the word, coming to God in prayer and worship. If you’re willing to take steps to see that your physical needs are met (food, toilet paper), take steps to be nourished spiritually as well.