I want to take some time to talk about being followers of Jesus Christ during the current COVID-19 Corona Virus epidemic.
Christians have been here before, and we can take comfort and wisdom from the actions of those who have faced these kinds of things. During the first 100 years or so of the early church, we have letters written by Roman governors during times of plague talking about the behavior of this strange new group of people, Christians. The letters talk about how Christians stayed behind in infected towns to take care of the sick. At least one letter laments the lack of compassion of the Romans while Christians were taking care of everyone, not just their own.
The Roman world had no healthcare system as we know it. In fact, if you are grateful for a robust and stable healthcare system, you have your Christian heritage to thank. So, what we see is that Christians stepped in where the culture around them stepped out.
We want to know how to respond as followers of Christ, not followers of a currently divided culture. Right now, the cultural response contains a lot of fear and political wrangling. We need to be weary of both. Fear doesn’t stay at fear, it quickly turns into anxiety, stress, selfishness, and even anger. None of these glorify God. None of these are fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
Instead of these kinds of reactions, what responses are wise? What kinds of responses are good for us and our neighbors? Are there responses to our situation that may even glorify God?
First, be smart and follow CDC guidelines. If you are sick, stay home. If you are really sick, consult your doctor. Wash your hands and follow good hygienic practices. Try to pay more attention to good science and epidemiology than social media worry. Christians believe in the power of both prayer and soap.
Do you have a neighbor who could use some help? This can be an actual neighbor, family member or friend, or someone you know at church who may be in a compromised health situation, or homebound, or even suffering from overwhelming anxiety. Call them. Ask them if there are things they need. Encourage them and pray with them. Don’t perpetuate anxiety but help them “cast their anxieties on God” (1 Peter 5:7) and “pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6).
If you are buying supplies, buy some for others as well. Find a balance between being wisely prepared and hording. Hording takes resources from others and encourages a cycle of panic. Take supplies to the homebound or sick and set them outside their doors.
Christians believe in the power of both prayer and soap.Tweet
And pray. There will be those in our culture who mock this step, but that’s OK. They don’t know Jesus like we do.
Pray for the sick and vulnerable. Pray for families who have lost loved ones.
Pray for wisdom for our leaders on every level – city, county, state, and national. And there are plenty of decisions being made on international levels that need our prayer.
Pray for our healthcare workers. They are “first responders” in situations like these.
Pray for salvations. God can make use of situations like these to create cracks in the hopes we place in human institutions and turn our hearts toward him.
Pray for God to be glorified. In all things and at all times, God is good and great. God does not cause evil, but he is always greater than the evil and brokenness around us. You don’t need to know exactly how this can happen, but you can pray that God will be seen as great and good in all things.