Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You- Psalm 56:3 NKJV
At this moment in human history the list of things to be afraid of is lengthy.
At the top of the list is stupid COVID-19. Even those who don’t fear the virus itself are anxious about all the practical issues it has created:
The economy has tanked, once-thriving business have closed and unemployment has become a reality for millions who once felt financially secure. Those who live alone are feeling overwhelmed by the isolation of quarantine. On the other end of the spectrum many are learning it is impossible to social distance from those we live with. This reality has placed a tremendous strain on relationships. Incidents of domestic violence have soared and many are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their gloom and despair.
Then there are the more esoteric worries.
As states push quarantine guidelines far beyond federal recommendations some worry that something more sinister than public health concerns is driving those decisions. Governmental overreach is becoming a very real concern as states and municipalities suspend constitutional rights in an effort to “keep people safe”. Even Christians wonder where God is in this mess.
Truth-be-told these times are a challenge even for the most mature of Christ-followers. Despite the apparent evidence to the contrary, our God is still on His throne. I believe God wants all of us to:
Redeem the time-
This may be the only season in our lives when we have the time and opportunity to learn something new about God, teach our children the deeper truths of the Bible and purposefully grow in our faith. We should use it wisely. Choose a book of the Bible and purchase some commentaries online, then take the time to learn everything you can about that book of the Bible. If you have kids at home use this time to teach your kids how to think about life from a truly Christian perspective.
Get your heart right-
God is practically pleading with the whole stupid world to get right with Him by turning away from their sin (Matthew 3:8). If you are NOT a Christian this means confessing your sin to God and asking Him to forgive you and willingly submitting every aspect of your life to Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19, Acts 17:24-31, 2nd Corinthians 7:10, Romans 3:23 Ephesians 2:8). If you’re are a Christian this is a time for reflection, personal repentance and crying out to God on behalf of the willfully disobedient around us (Daniel 9:1-15). God wants Christians to give Him permission to tell us what’s wrong with our thinking and our behaviors (Psalm 139:23-24).
Channel concerns into action-
If you don’t already know, find out who your state representatives are and spend some quality time on their Facebook pages. Share any concerns you have with them. Respectfully and rationally give them reasonable ideas for dealing with this crisis. If you’re frustrated with how the crisis is being handled in your state, prayerfully consider ways you can help bring about new leadership in your area.
Turn worry into prayer–
Sometimes it feels like there are only two choices when it comes to worry. We can either castigate ourselves for agonizing over the stuff we find terrifying; or we can ignore what the Bible says about worry and worry our heads off anyway (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:25). There is a third option. We can discipline ourselves to turn worry into prayer and gratitude. You can make a mental list (or a real one) of all of the things that worry you and all of things you are grateful for. Take both lists to God in prayer. Don’t get so hung up on your worry that you forget to praise God for the good things. Continue to pray and praise until the anxiety subsides and thankfulness takes over (Philippians 4:6).
Change what’s informing you-
We are all informed by the information we allow into our minds. We are informed by what we learned in school, the news, the underlying messages thrust upon us by television programs and the mindsets of the people around us. The COVID-19 crisis is a good time to detox from some of those sources. It is also a good time learn to filter the information we receive through the lens of Scripture by getting into the habit of comparing what other sources say to what the Bible says.
Work on you-
This is a great time for prayerful self-examination (2nd Corinthians 13:5, 1st Peter 4:17). Look at your life in light of Scriptural standards and pray about what God is asking you to change (Luke 10:27, Galatians 5:19-20, Romans 6:11-14, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10). Ask God to give you the inclination, power and motivation to change the things He wants you to change.
None of the above-motioned practices will make the stupid COVID-19 virus go away. However, they will ensure we all come out of this situation better people who have a bigger impact on our corner of the world.