Responding to COVID-19

Over the past few weeks, I have sat back and taken in all that is transpiring in the world. I have watched as people have become afraid of what might possibly happen. Up until now, I have chosen to remain silent and see how things played out. In light of recent events in the past week, I believe it is time that I break my silence. Let me start by saying that I believe that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading and can be harmful to certain groups within the population (including our church). I also believe that our national media has driven people to hoarding all kinds of goods. Panic is spreading and as followers of Christ we need to be reminded of what God’s Word tells us. I am not an expert in science. I do not know how far COVID-19 will spread nor do I know the long term effect on the population of the world. But I do know that God encourages us through His Word to think of things happening around us in a different way than the world.

I believe that first and foremost the best thing we can do as followers of Christ is to not look too far down the road. In the last year as our family has dealt with the uncertainty of life with our youngest son Aaron, one thing we have stressed to do in our lives is not to look too far down the road. I believe that we should seek to do the same in light of what is happening globally. While those around us may be living in panic and stockpiling different resources, we need to do our best to remained focused on the here and now. Paul reminds us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

As followers of Christ, we should not live by fear. Jesus clearly taught His disciples that we did not need to be troubled. In John 14, we see Jesus tell His disciples to “let not your hearts be troubled” (14:1, 27) and “neither let them be afraid” (14:27). We should not have the same inner turmoil that fills those in times like this. Those without Christ have no hope or peace when the world crashes around them. However, as followers of Christ, we have been filled with the Holy Spirit. We have hope that God is in control, that He has a plan, that He will not leave us, and that He is working in all things! In times like this, we need to strive to live as Paul encouraged Timothy, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) 

As followers of Christ, we should also not live selfish lives. In light of what is transpiring, we need to live in such a way that we think not only about our individual needs but also the needs of others. Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3–4) When the early church faced persecution, they did not run down the street to Walmart and buy up all the goods they could. Instead, they came together and helped each other. They lived as a body of believers that saw needs and sought to meet those needs. Acts shows a great picture of how they lived. “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” (Acts 2:44–45) 

As followers of Christ, we should not stop meeting together. The early church faced great persecution and still sought to meet together. “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46–47) We should continue to find ways to gather together and encourage each other in spite of what is going on around us. Does that mean we may need to change the way we do things to help calm those that fear what is happening? Yes it does. But we should not abandon coming together. We come together to encourage each other and help each other during these uncertain times. The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23–25)

As followers of Christ, we do not hide our light. One of the responses of those living in fear is to isolate themselves. As followers of Christ, we need to remember that we have been called to shine Christ’s light to the world. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13–16) People are afraid, anxious, and looking for hope. As followers of Christ, we have the hope they need. We need to shine Jesus to those around us to give them hope. While COVID-19 spreads, we can spread the gospel message of Jesus as well! 

Over the course of the next few days, I will be seeking to meet with church leadership to develop a plan of action moving forward. Know that I am in prayer for our church, our nation, and the world as a whole as we journey through this. 

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