As life is altered more and more by dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we want to make sure we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). But with so many distraction with schools & businesses closed, working from home, financial & health worries, and more, how can we do that?
Below, you will learn about how Christians can be free from panic, be prepared, and have perspective. Farther down, we will update resources for believers during these uncertain days.
Christians Should Not Panic
We should not be driven by fear. This is a general principle that should govern the Christian’s entire life, not just the current circumstances. The Bible tells us that “God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). This is not because we ignore fear, or because we have the willpower to avoid fear, but it is because our Savior has given us peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
This should be especially true in times of panic and trouble caused by disease. Throughout history, Christians have responded to deadly outbreaks of disease with calm, compassion, and assistance for others. In the third century, a plague struck the Roman Empire, and a terrified populace shunned human contact and gave the ill over to death, rather than risk contact. The shocking exception to this was the Christians in the Empire. The Church responded by reaching out and caring for the sick. The historian Eusebius described it: “All day long some of them [the Christians] tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.”
During the Great Plague of London, it was ministers of the gospel like Thomas Vincent, who stayed behind and tended not only to their own flock but to the populace in general. We have even seen this in our day when the virulent and deadly outbreak of Ebola happened in 2014 and Christians served and helped victims.
Christians Should be Prepared
But if we are not to panic, we also should not go to the opposite extreme. We should not act as if COVID-19 is of no concern or be callous in the face of those who are afraid. Because the Sixth Commandment requires of us “all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life and the life of others,” we should be prepared to prevent the spread of disease. In many ways, this preparation would be useful even apart from the recent appearance of COVID-19. The flu, for example, can be a dangerous illness, especially for the very young, very old, or those already in poor health. So we should take reasonable and practical efforts to prevent contamination and infection at this time.
What does that look like? Use the common wisdom guidelines God has given us about handwashing, social distancing, and other obvious practices. (Try reciting the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed while you’re washing your hands to make sure you scrub long enough!) Put plans in place if this pandemic should grow worse, and carefully consider financial & health needs. As Christians, we don’t make these plans like the world, thinking everything is up to us, or that everything is in chaos. “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15).
Christians Should Have Perspective
We should not panic, and yet be prepared because as followers of Jesus, we should have the proper perspective. Life is precious and it is a gift from God. We should do all we can to preserve it and to be a blessing to others. At the same time, we should not be afraid, either of disease or even death. We know that this world is not the end and that Jesus has promised never to forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). It may seem unusual, but this current difficulty is an opportunity for Christians to show that their trust in Jesus is real. So real that it takes away fear when others around them are afraid. So real that they can serve others around them. I am praying that we, as God’s people, can be a blessing to others and show them the hope of Jesus. But then again, I pray that all the time, not just during unusual circumstances. May the Lord give you the calm assurance that comes from knowing He loves you and cares for you.
No longer are we looking at a few days off to rest from the flu. Now, we’re staring down the barrel of multiple weeks at home with nothing to do. We have to think through not only the disruption to everyday life, but also how to lead children through cancellations that affect them. Maybe you work from home, and now have to find a way to work while also caring for your children. Maybe you work outside the home, and now have to find a way to care for your children and still do your job. Maybe you stay home, and now have to figure out a new normal with all your children with you all day, every day.
Read more “Don’t Waste Your Family Quarantine” at TGC→
“One of the blessings of being stuck at home in a global pandemic in 2020—versus, say, 1990 or even 2000—is that the internet provides a means to communicate, work, shop, and be entertained without needing to go outside. But in terms of streaming entertainment, the blessing can become a curse due to the overwhelming amount of options.”
There are terrific resources for your faith. Perhaps most amazing, Ligonier Ministries have made all their videos free until June 2020! There are many free resources at The Gospel Coalition. If you’re looking for family-friendly or uplifting movies on Netflix or elsewhere, try “30 Edifying Things to Watch When Stuck At Home.”
Continue reading “What To Watch” at TGC→