Updated: Mar 23, 2020
A response to the threat of COVID-19
I’m home. It is a bright Sunday morning. The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting, and across the city my beautiful local church is singing. Praising God for His goodness, faithfulness and everlasting presence.
This morning, the distant shadows of COVID-19 have rested on our household, not as you would expect with a scratchy throat or high fever but rather in a cancelled flight. The elders in our church (which includes my husband) were due to leave for Australia via Dubai in a few hours (at the time of writing) for a gathering in Adelaide with other Elders from around the globe. Unfortunately this had to be postponed due to travel restrictions being applied as of midnight tonight by the Australian government in an effort to contain this quickly spreading virus.
So I’m home. Missing my church family and the encouraging strength we give to each other when we are together. Waiting for a call back from Emirates so that we can cancel an already checked in flight. Flying on a jet plane - sadly not today!
I’m missing my church family today, and the encouraging strength we give to each other when we are together. Sunday mornings in a preachers house might look a little different to yours… Craig will have been up for hours, praying and preparing, followed by the mad dash out the door with coffee in hand. We arrive at church to many a smile, hug and handshake. It is loud, it is diverse, it is messy, it is delightful. This crazy gathering of different people from different tribes should not work as well as it does, but it does because of the ONE who unites us - Jesus!
And so today, as I find unexpected moments of quiet in my day, I want to encourage you in the midst of a world turned upside down by a threat of an epidemic. Look to Jesus!
No matter where you find yourself, let Jesus be your constant. As I contemplate His life on earth, He was always calm in a crisis, be it the pressure of feeding a crowd with no supplies or arrested by soldiers, He was calm and brought calm. (You can read accounts of Jesus’ life in John or the gospels.) Today, and in the weeks to follow, be the peace bringer in an unstable world.
I’ve thought of a few Do’s and Don’ts that may be helpful during this season:
Panic. Fear is spreading faster than any virus. Stay calm and don’t give in to the hype. I especially loved a post I saw on Dr. Caroline Leaf’s instagram, “Viruses are contagious, so is panic, fear, hysteria, calm, love, enthusiasm, kindness, joy. Choose wisely.” See link here.
Follow or share UNOFFICIAL stories. I’m sure like me, you’ve already seen much on your social media feeds and even been forwarded a youtube video (or ten!) with intensifying reports of the corvina virus. Please remember that just because you find something on a Google search doesn’t mean it’s true. Stay informed and act accordingly but don’t spread news (and fear) you can’t verify. You’re only adding to the panic if you do.
Pray! Pray! Pray! Our world is facing a crisis. Pray for God’s hope and healing to flood our lands. Pray for those in government to make the right choices for our safety. Pray for our health workers and carers. Pray for those who have tested positive, the world over, remember the person and don’t just study the statistics. Pray for comfort and healing for the families and loved ones of those who have passed.
Stay informed (using a reliable source!) and act accordingly.
Be proactive with your health and the health of others. Here’s some advice from the World Health Organization: https://youtu.be/bPITHEiFWLc
Be kind. Reach out and steady those around you that are vulnerable and need to take extra care such as the elderly or those with low immunities, even those who struggle with anxiety and fear. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to spread God’s love and light and especially His peace during this time.
Use the Word of God as your benchmark. The Bible is full of wisdom in how to respond in times of fear and trial. Lean into the words and life of God’s inspired word.
Use the gift of time wisely. Who knows what the coming weeks will bring? Should you find yourself restricted to your home in the future together with your family. Enjoy this rare gift. Laugh, talk and play together. Don’t stress, decompress!
STRUGGLING WITH FEAR OR WITH NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO IN THIS TIME OF CONFUSION?
Saturate yourself with scripture. Here are a few that I’ve handpicked to give you courage and perspective…
All scriptures are quoted from The Passion Translation unless stated.
Hebrews 13:16 NIV And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Philippians 4:6 Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life,
Philippians 4:7 then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:26 And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.
Psalms 56:3 But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you
and trust in you with all my heart.
Psalms 34:4 Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Psalms 23:4 Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.[a]
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
Psalms 46:1-3 God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge!
You’re a proven help in time of trouble—
more than enough and always available whenever I need you.
So we will never fear
even if every structure of support were to crumble away.
We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes,
moving mountains and casting them into the sea.
For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves
cannot erode our faith in you.
Pause in his presence
And so, the flight tickets have been cancelled. No jet planes for us today but rather a journey into the unknown. Let’s travel this path with alertness, kindness, peace and faith.
I leave you with these words spoken by Jesus, “I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous.” (John 14:27)
Yours in His wonderful grip,
Read Colette's bio here