Businesses are shutting down. People are out of work. Supplies are in high demand. Social distancing is being implemented. And now, churches are closing their doors. Why? The coronavirus that has wreaked havoc around the world is now spreading throughout our nation, our state, and even our own little county.
To add insult to injury, reason is being replaced with irrationality, and cool heads are giving way to hysteria. Constant reminders about the illness due to 24-hour-a-day news reporting and much disinformation about the virus due to social media have provided the perfect opportunity for widespread panic.
What should we do, and where should we turn during this pandemic? As we strive for reason in an unreasonable time, let me give you three suggestions that I believe are necessary to keep in mind in any crisis situation.
First, never forget that God is always in control. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” The same, loving God who created the universe is still here; He has not left us! No matter how bad things get (or seem to get!), do not fear! Keep in mind what Joshua 1:9 declares, “… Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Second, stop worrying. In Luke 12:25, Jesus asked, “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?” Well, which of you can? There is nothing wrong with being concerned about things you can control, but worrying about things beyond your control profits no one. In fact, it often only makes matters worse. Your worry not only affects you negatively (physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually), but it affects others negatively, as well. Instead of building others up, worry often tears others down, and that is the exact opposite of what we are supposed to be doing for one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Respect the wisdom of the Lord when He taught, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
Third, remember to pray. There are those who only pray when the going gets tough, and as much as I would like to see people pray some of the time rather than none of the time, God would like to see His children pray all of the time. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That means children of God should take advantage of talking to their heavenly Father as often as they are able. When we rise in the morning and go to bed in the evening, when we begin a meal and finish a task, and when we have good and bad times, we must always take advantage of the power of prayer.
One final plea on the subject of prayer: Do not pray only for yourselves! Pray for everyone else, as well, and specifically pray for those in government. There are people all around the globe who are hurting and elected officials on all levels (federal to state to local) who are carrying heavy burdens during times like these, and they need our prayers. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 urges true followers of Jesus to pray in this way: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
There is an old saying that is often thought to be scripture but actually is not found in the pages of the Bible. It is, “This too shall pass.” Like that saying, I believe there will come a day when this virus like all others before it will also pass. In the meantime, however, remember that God is still in control, so do not worry, and never forget to pray.