Over the past few months I have watched as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has developed into a “top story” across most news agencies. Like you, I have heard a lot about this epidemic turning pandemic. Just this last week, I received several updates on my phone that read like this: “2 more die from Coronavirus in US”, “What you need to know to survive COVID-19”, and my favorite “How...
...to build a Coronavirus Emergency Kit”.
The hype of this virus has many people concerned, and acting foolishly. Just this last week eBay banned the sale of face mask and hand sanitizer because of price gouging. Some bottles of sanitizer were reportedly selling for $50 and up. Hysteria seems to have hit the masses, and a great number of people are anxious, worried, and nervous.
This fear is only fueled by a media that is solely driven by revenue through ratings. The idea of intelligent, honest, and factual reporting died long ago, and “click bait” has unfortunately taken its place. Panic is driven by the media that is sending out “breaking news” and “urgent reports” every time some new expected development happens with this virus. Just last night an article was suggested to me about churches response to Coronavirus. In the article, much detail was given to aid and prevention that churches should be “concerned” with.
All of this increased attention got me wondering, “what should a Christian think about all this?” “What should our response as a church be?”, and “does God’s Word address any of these issues?” The more I pondered on these, and similar questions, I found myself at ease and at peace with the REALITY of what is TRUE. I came to the understanding that any Christian should follow this basic truth, “informed not anxious”.
God’s Word tells us over and over again that we are to “fear not”. It actually is one of the most oft repeated commands in the Bible, and for good reason… we tend to fear things we shouldn’t. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing…”, John 14:27 reads, “…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”, and 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…”. There is actually only one thing the Bible says we should fear, and that is God. Anxiety, fear, worry, and the like do not come from the LORD.
With that truth, we understand that as Christians we should not be alarmed and scared about the Coronavirus. I am not an anxious person by nature, and personally I don’t get hyped about all the news, but maybe you do. If you find yourself fearful and anxious about this virus, cut off the source that is feeding your anxiety. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” It might be wise to take a break from Fox News, and turn off the constant notifications about each new development. Maybe you need to take a short break from social media.
God has told us not to fear, and to instead live with faith and trust. Not only does He tell us to “Be careful for nothing…” in Philippians 4:6-7, but He also says, “…but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God actually wants us to live a life of prayer WITH thanksgiving (so key!). Peace accompanies those who fear God, and turn to Him with prayerful thanksgiving in times of uncertainty. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
Although we should not be anxious, we should be informed (remember, informed not anxious). As a pastor, I have pondered the reality that Coronavirus will likely hit close to home sooner than later. I understand the reality that some of the members at Faith Baptist Church will likely get the virus, and even some in my family. I don’t say that to try to be scary, but just to be honest. The more research I have done, the more I have come to realize that the publicity far exceeds the authenticity of what this virus really is. I encourage you to do your own investigation and come to your own conclusions about the Coronavirus. To put it into perspective though, the flu resulted in 32,000,000 reported cases in the US this season, with 310,000 hospitalized, and 18,000 deaths. At the time of this writing, there have been 22 deaths in the US by COVID-19.
We ought to be wise and prepared, but I honestly believe that excludes fear and anxiety. As a Christian, we should use this as an opportunity to share the Gospel, and be prepared to be a blessing when called upon.