Mirjam Schilling, Joel Gamble and Nathan Gamble have said this: What does this mean for us and COVID-19? Our attitude toward COVID-19 should be marked by the Christian virtue of measured concern (“temperate prudence” in classical terms): measured, not panicking but heeding our Saviour’s encouraging warning, “Do not be anxious about your life ... Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 6:25, 10:28); and concern, recognising the evil for what it is and not comforting ourselves with falsehoods. Instead of panicking and stockpiling so many masks that there aren’t enough for healthcare workers, or so much pasta and toilet paper that others can’t find any, we should be asking: How can we as a church and I as an individual help those in need? (You can read the full article at https://www.abc.net.au/religion/coronavirus-a-healthy-christian-response-to-covid-19/12063556)
Behind all this panicking is a fear of the unknown, fear of death and what lies beyond death, fear of being out of control. This fear is contrary to faith; it says that the issues that assault our minds, our lives are bigger than God, bigger than the power he has to bring us peace during this storm. Too often we have liked the idea of God but never really given ourselves to him. We prefer to control our lives in our way with our choices and trusting God is something that we don’t give a great deal of thought to until we are confronted with a situation that is way out of our control.
Why is that one person can come out of a crisis defeated and bitter and another hopeful and strong? Why is that one person loses their faith and another with a stronger and more vibrant belief in Jesus and assurance of the Father’s love? This has long puzzled me. Do we ask “why me” rather than “why not me”? I know I had to face this 8 years ago as I lay recovering from a tramping accident that I am still recovering from. I had to choose to trust God with my life and know that while this was not ideal, I was alive and had a future or give in to the pain and resulting disability. I’ve chosen life. John wrote in his letter “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18) and that is the challenge of today – will I allow perfect love to take possession of our hearts and mind. Will I allow myself to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10) and let his perfect peace reach into my deepest fears and uncertainties. Will I allow the love of God to be poured into my heart? Not only to make me strong but so I can be strong for others.
My answer is yes! How about you? Live with fear or freedom, despair or hope? That choice is yours. Choose life, choose hope, choose freedom. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.” John 10:10
Our response has to be to take all care, wash our hands frequently and when away from our homes and down at the supermarket or the pharmacy or doctors make sure we have wipes and hand sanitizer and use them frequently. Don’t panic buy – it’s not worth the energy nor the expense. Watch out for our neighbours from a distance and talk with them over the fence or on the phone. Take the time to write to family and friends, especially those who you haven’t contacted in a while. One of our extended family wrote after 9:11 to say how much she loved and appreciated us and wanted to say it because she realized that there was no telling when that opportunity would no longer be there.
Be careful not to watch or read what every “Tom, Dick or Harry” is putting on social media – there’s some clever stuff but there is also a lot that is driven by fear, not reason, driven by the loss of control, not responsible advice.
Read – there are lots of good books – The Bible, give it a fright and you will discover the hope that as a follower of Jesus we believe in. Learn to talk with your family members again – discover something new about your wife or husband or child. Sit down and listen to them. You might just discover something amazing and fall in love all over again. Don’t waste the opportunity you have been given.
There will be an end to this and there will be a new day – we have a choice to make – will it be a great new day for you?
Go well and with love