It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that these are some trying and dangerous times. In fact, by now, everyone all over the entire world is well aware of this global pandemic. Everyone has been affected in one or more ways.
In these uncertain and dangerous times, we can take solace or comfort in the fact that we are not alone. In fact, we are in good company.
The Bible says in Eccl. 1:9 that “The thing that hath been, it is that which SHALL be; and that which is done is that which SHALL be done: and there is NO NEW THING…UNDER THE SUN.”
If you think that the dangers and problems of the current coronavirus pandemic is a brand new thing, consider the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic also known as the Avian flu (H1N1). It is known as the deadliest pandemic of the 20th century. According to the CDC, it was estimated that about 500 million people or 1/3 of the world’s population became infected and at least 50 million people died worldwide. About 675,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States.
Thankfully, throughout human history, there are many, many examples and testimonies of resilient people who made it through very perilous, hard times:
Hmmm…Perilous hard times?
In the Bible:
It’s what Daniel faced when he was thrown into the lion’s den.
It’s what the 3 Hebrew boys faced when they were thrown in the fiery furnace.
It’s what Noah and his family faced when they were quarantined in the enclosed space of an ark… along with a lot of WILD animals. Keep in mind that even though it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, they had to Shelter-In-Place for an entire YEAR! I tell you, that there is no new thing under the sun!
In US history:
It’s what those who lived through the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression faced during times of bank failures, loss of jobs, homelessness, and great poverty.
It’s what the slaves faced when they were in bondage and even after they were freed.
It’s what Dr. Martin Luther King faced through racism, hatred, and bomb threats.
In Our Present Day:
It’s what our deployed soldiers are facing while serving our country overseas and being away from their families…especially during the current global health crisis.
It’s what our nurses and doctors are facing while trying to save the lives of very sick patients, even though they themselves are at risk of becoming infected every day.
It’s what our postal workers, store cashiers, grocery store workers, policemen, and other essential workers are facing every day.
It is my goal and my prayer to give us some encouragement regarding the advantage we have as Christians and practical ways to stay focused on the only and best help we can have…Jesus Christ! As Christians, we know that God is ALL powerful and ALL knowing. He gives us strength. He gives us peace. He gives us wisdom to be victorious overcomers of adversity. So, here are four things that Christians MUST do to overcome the coronavirus pandemic and avoid panic.
- Keep your mind stayed on Jesus
According to Is. 26:3, God will keep in PERFECT PEACE, those whose mind is STAYED on him: because they trust in HIM.
Do not allow the enemy to steal your peace, by putting negative thoughts in your mind. That will only lead to paralyzing fear.
The Devil wants to arrest our minds and hearts with fear and worry, but God wants us to maintain peace in the storm. This can only be done through His strength and power.
John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Remember: “God has NOT given us the spirit of fear; but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” 2 Tim. 1:7
How do you keep your minds on Jesus? Meditate on God’s word (ie. Ps. 91, Ps. 121), listen to sermons, listen to encouraging Christian songs, memorize scriptures that build your faith in God.
- Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17)
Phil. 4:6-7 tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by PRAYER and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let you request be made known unto God. And the PEACE of GOD, which passeth ALL understanding, shall keep your HEARTS and MINDS through Christ Jesus.”
We must PRAY THROUGH our storms, because God hears us and he will answer our prayers…for strength…for peace…for wisdom.
I am reminded of how I had cried and prayed for strength during my dad and grandmother’s simultaneous terminal illnesses. I could not imagine being able to deal with it all without losing it! I begged God to help me deal with what was coming when the time came. Over the coming days and months, God showed me a different perspective. He taught me how to focus on the time I had left with my loved ones and ways that I could spend time with each of them, making them more comfortable and making them smile. I became focused on recognizing and enjoying each and every day that they were still around and what I could do to make those days happier for them.
You see, if I MAINLY focused on what was coming, I would not have been able to appreciate the moments I still had left with them. I wouldn’t be able to think straight about the present, because I would be too fixated on the future. So, I focused on the present…appreciating each moment that I still had my dad and grandmother. Then, I noticed that God’s peace began to wash over me as the time was fast approaching. I saw from the signs, that it wouldn’t be long. Yet, I was Ok, because God was strengthening me with every prayer I prayed and with every thing that I did to help my loved ones. They died 18 days apart in January of 2019. And even though I cried when the time came, God clearly answered my prayers. In fact, God gave me strength that I didn’t know I could have and he gave me peace. He also gave me wisdom and a sound mind to be able to help my family during the difficult times. Prayer works!
- Live life in slow motion
In Ps. 46:10, God encourages us to BE STILL and know that HE is God.
In a world and society that’s used to running to and fro, we must now live in slow motion… One day at a time.. One moment at a time…one step at time…
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:34 NIV)
Instead, Phil. 4:8 tells us what to focus on to replace the negativity. We are to focus on things that are true, honest, just, pure, LOVELY, and of a GOOD REPORT. If there be any virtue or any praise, we are to think on those things.
So, take this time, to count your blessings…name them one by one…See what the Lord has done for you and your family over the years. Write them down OR name 3-5 things that you are grateful for EVERY MORNING. That inventory of gratitude will strengthen your faith day-by-day.
As Christians, we are blessed to have church family that we can still call or text. So, use this time to reach out to family, friends, and fellow believers. Share testimonies of God’s goodness, pray together, and encourage one another. Even from our homes, we can let our little lights shine!
- Trust God
As believers of Jesus Christ, we are in the best situation, because NO matter what… “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)
In other words, this global pandemic may do a LOT of devastating, disappointing, and harmful things, but it does NOT have the power to take away our salvation…or our eternal life.
As Christians, we say, “I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Ps. 121:1-2
With this highly contagious coronavirus or COVID-19, we must be vigilant. We CAN’T be TOO CAREFUL. Yes, we must stay home as much as possible, wash and sanitize our hands often, keep our distance when we absolutely must go out of our homes, wash and disinfect everything that we bring inside of our homes. Accept the many inconveniences of these uncharted and dangerous circumstances. We do what we can to stay as safe as possible, but at the end of the day…we must trust God to take care of us.
As Dr. Charles Stanley once wrote, “We have the ability to say, “I choose to trust God,” in any situation we face or any thought we have.”
Ps. 46:1 remind us that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very PRESENT help in trouble.”
It is only through the strength of the Lord and the help of the Holy Spirit that we will be able to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil, because GOD is with us.” (Ps. 23)
So, yes, as Eph. 6:13 says, “put on the FULL armor of God, so that WHEN the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and AFTER YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING, to STAND. That is to say, after you have done everything that you CAN do… stand. Some versions of the Bible say, “stand firm!”
This is when we dig down deep making sure that our anchor holds and grips the solid rock of Jesus Christ.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds…but we know who holds the future…and we know who holds our hand.