How ought to Christians react to COVID-19?
How should Christians react when the COVID-19 pandemic hits the world? I believe that as Christians we can and should give a number of specific answers to this crisis in our world.
Don't panic or despair
First, and above all, don't panic. There are more than enough chicken littles walking around proclaiming doom and darkness, and there are many false prophets who profess this virus as God's judgment of everything that they think is affecting society. Personally, I am not ready to make any of them the stature of Isaiah or Jeremiah.
I believe that at this time it is important that we recognize that God is still sovereign. He is in control. Nothing that happens is a surprise to him. It is also not something that he has not allowed for any reason. A reason that can only be known to him.
Regardless of what may happen to others around me, my family, or myself, God is in control and I can trust Him to accomplish His perfect will through whatever may come.
This does not mean that I may not suffer injuries and / or grief, but as Paul said, "I know who I believed in and I am convinced that he will keep what I have entrusted to him to the end" (2 Timothy 1): 12), and with this knowledge we as believers can be sure that he will take care of us.
S.like respect for our heads of government
It seems that many, including believers, enjoy criticizing our government and those who serve in it. Some are crying today that the government is reacting too slowly or not strongly enough to this crisis.
Others cry that the government is crossing its borders and is claiming more and more power over ordinary people. I've heard a lot of Christians on Facebook who regret the government's ban on gathering for worship and refuse to follow this directive.
However, I believe that we should submit to our governments at this time. First, because Scripture instructs us to submit to them (Romans 13: 1), but just as important because the only known way to prevent the spread of this virus is to keep our distance. If we gather, we will only help it to spread further, and we will put more people at risk of this disease.
Therefore, follow the appropriate government guidelines. Keep your distance. Wash your hands frequently. If possible, work from home. Be a role model for others around you.
Keep in touch with family, friends and the church
One of the challenges many face now is being isolated from other people. If you're at the very end of the introverted scale like me, this may not be a big deal. However, longer isolation can be a major challenge for most people.
During this time, look for ways to stay in touch. Nothing can replace personal contact and human touch, but many of us live in a very connected world today. We can write text messages, chat, send emails, make phone calls, make video calls, participate in virtual services and Bible studies, and much more. Of course not everyone can do all of this, but most of us can do at least part of it. So use the available technology.
Keep in touch with the other people in your normal circle of family members and friends. Make an effort to contact them to see how they are doing and encourage them. Pay special attention to those who may be all alone. Contact the older widows in your community who live alone. It may be difficult to connect to them, but they need your touch.
Look for ways to help
As always, Christians should be open to opportunities to help those in need, and this is no less true at this time. It will be more difficult to offer help with the current rules on social distancing and isolation, but if the opportunity arises, do not hesitate to help.
There are many who are particularly susceptible to the corona virus, probably among your neighbors. You may be able to do their shopping for them. Or maybe help them maintain the exterior of their home and property.
Take the opportunity to develop your own spirituality
You may find it difficult to be among the many who spend more time at home than you are used to. If you are in this position, take the opportunity to spend more time in personal development. You can read a book. Discover a field that you find interesting. Invest time in your family. There are countless things you can do with your newly found free time.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is take the opportunity to grow spiritually. Christians often express that life is too busy to spend much time in prayer and Bible study. However, if you are one of those who are "stuck at home", this is an ideal opportunity to invest in your spiritual life. Pray. Read the bible. Pray something else. Meditate on what you read. Read a book on spiritual disciplines. Pray something else. Seek the Lord and his will for your life. Above all, don't miss out on this time.
Rejoice and thank God
Without a doubt, the loss of life and suffering caused by COVID-19 is tragic. Before it takes its course, it will likely have touched everyone in the world to some extent. But as Christians, our answer does not have to reflect the restlessness and despair that people around us show.
We have a hope that exceeds this world and our circumstances. We can rejoice not over the tragic events that happen around us, but about the God who can use them to accomplish his purpose in our lives and in this world.
Be a light in this time of darkness. Let your light shine in such a way that it glorifies God and makes others find their hope and abundance in the only one who really overcomes the struggles of this life. “Always rejoice, pray continuously, thank you under all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus ”(1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19).
Ed Jarrett is a long-time follower of Jesus and a member of the Sylvan Way Baptist Church. He has been a Bible teacher for over 40 years and blogs regularly at A Clay Jar. You can also follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Ed is married with two children and a grandfather with three children. He is retired and is currently enjoying his gardens and backpacking tours.