Our world is currently consumed with sickness. It is on the news 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Many of us are tracking the daily totals. As of this writing there are almost 1 million cases worldwide and over 200,000 cases here in the United States. Even here in Virginia we now have 1,700 cases with 73 confirmed cases in Chesterfield. And these numbers seem to increase by the hour. Sometimes it feels like we cannot escape even hearing about the Coronavirus and our sick world.
So how should we as followers of Christ react in the midst of this sickness?
First, I think we need to be wise. Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16) I am sure you have heard of pastors being arrested for continuing to have services in the midst of this global pandemic. This does not seem to be wise! Nor does it seem very loving or Christlike. I believe our best course of action is to listen to our government leaders and follow the advice of the medical experts. This means staying isolated and staying home unless the travel is essential.
I know this can be extremely frustrating for many of you. I understand your frustration because I am frustrated as well! I am really tired of this isolation. I am concerned about the economic damage being done to our nation. I know many of our church members have been negatively impacted by the shutdown orders from the Governor. But the alternative at this point seems to be unwise. I certainly do not want to get sick with Coronavirus. I don’t want anyone in my family to get sick and I don’t want anyone in our church family to get sick. I think the worst-case scenario would be for me to spread the virus to others that could even result in their death.
Be a Witness.
Secondly, we need to be a witness in our neighborhoods. I have been able to have good conversations (from across the street in order to maintain recommended social distancing) with neighbors over the last week. Many people are open to spiritual conversations during these troubling times. We can share the love of Christ with neighbors – face to face even while across the street.
We can call people and share the love of Christ with them. There is a very good chance they will be home! We all have friends or loved ones who do not know the Lord. Give them a call and see what doors the Lord may open for a spiritual conversation.
Another simple way to be a witness is to capitalize on the fact that many people have more free time than normal now. Send links for the blogs, worship services, and virtual connect group meetings to neighbors and friends. They may be searching for the kind of answers that can only be found through God’s people. Who knows how God could use this simple encouragement?
Consider what is God is teaching us.
Lastly, consider what the Lord may be trying to teach us during this season. I think of the Apostle Paul and the physical issues he discusses in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
If you are like me, I know you have prayed that the Lord would take this virus away. So far, the answer to this prayer seems to be “no”. We do not know for certain what Paul’s ailment was, but we know he too prayed three times for the Lord to take it away and each time the Lord said, “no.” But His answer was more than just no. God also reassured Paul that He was with him and that the grace God was providing in the sickness was sufficient to meet Paul’s need. I see three things for us to reflect on from this passage:
The grace we are given is sufficient. Even in the age of coronavirus God is pouring out His grace into our lives. Let us think about and be grateful for the grace of God in our lives.
The power of Christ can rest upon us when we are content with the grace He supplies and when we boast about Him. As we try to witness, let our boasting be about all the great things the Lord has done for us.
We can be content – even under quarantine. Paul says he is content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. If Paul can be content with all this, we should be able to be content during this time of sickness.
I am praying for the time we can be the church gathered again, but until that time I pray you can abound in God’s all sufficient grace, feel his power resting on you, and find true contentment today and in the days to come!