This pandemic is wild. I still feel like I’m in a dream that I’m going to wake up from in the morning. Everything just seems so surreal – the whole world has shut down. Schools are either closed indefinitely or are finishing their semesters online, people are telecommuting to work, restaurants and bars have been told to limit their operations to only carry-out or delivery, and all non-essential businesses are indefinitely closed. This pandemic has not only affected the U.S. but uprooted the entire world. Sporting events worldwide have been canceled, and the Olympics have been postponed until the summer of 2021.
All of this is an ongoing effort to combat the spread of the Coronavirus and “flatten the curve.” As a Christian, I am still struggling with the right response to this situation. I believe that there are two extremes to this situation.
On one side are the people who are living their lives in fear and stressing about this to the point where they’re hoarding toilet paper or Clorox wipes. Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Why are you stressing and worrying? Do you think God isn’t in control? God is with you. There is no situation that God can’t handle. He never promised us that we wouldn’t have to deal with hardships or go through trials, but God did promise we wouldn’t have to go through it alone.
Whether it’s coronavirus or something else, there will always be something new to fear. We don’t like disruptions to our normal routines, and we don’t like not feeling in control. We want to remain in our comfort zones, and I think that’s what’s freaking a lot of people out. They’re having to find new ways to live their lives a little less comfortably. They’re stressed because they’re now unemployed and they have three kids they’re trying to feed. I get it. But, there will always be something to worry about in life. Remember who goes before you and who is in control. Fear doesn’t stand a chance in perfect love.
On the other side, are the people such as spring breakers like Brady Sluder, who have the mindset of, “If I get Corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying.” One side is living in fear, while the other side is frankly selfishly living for themselves with no concern for the health and well being of others around them.
It’s not just spring breakers. I know churches that are still meeting, and knowingly defying orders from local and state officials. I know of pastors that have chosen to downplay this virus and are still meeting as if nothing is wrong. Part of me gets it; they’re trying to preach not living in fear. But on the other hand, they SHOULD absolutely be acknowledging the seriousness of this situation. I think the wrong response as Christians is to “downplay” the virus and act as if it’s not serious.
Even if your church can’t meet physically right now, you can still meet online. Many churches are encouraging small groups of 10 or less to meet and worship the Lord with each other. I think that is the right response. It tells people that you are encouraged to share in fellowship and worship with one another, but that you are being responsible and taking necessary precautions to slow the spread by not meeting as a large group right now.
Instead of leaning from one extreme to the next, we need to stay in the middle. A place not ruled by fear, but a place where we also don’t downplay the seriousness of this pandemic.
One of my absolute favorite verses is Matthew 6:26-27. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” In fact, one of my tattoos is of birds flying. It is a constant reminder to me that I shouldn’t over worry about things that are out of my control. It is a reminder for me to “cast my anxiety on him because he cares for me” as written in 1 Peter 5:7.
As Christians, we should be lights shining in the darkness during this unknown time. We should be offering the peace and joy of Jesus to others. See, we don’t have to worry because we know that even when we go through storms that God is with us through it all. Our storm doesn’t get the last say.