The news about coronavirus is all over the media and is heard in almost every conversation. This is a very unusual situation, and we can choose to respond in one of two ways: with fear or with faith.
It is very interesting to see how people around the world are reacting differently. Some people are reacting by panic buying (and emptying the shelves), while others seem to be almost indifferent. For me, the question is how should we, as believers, respond?
First of all, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this sickness: individuals, families, health services, and communities as well as national leaders and governments. They all need God’s wisdom and guidance as they deal with this situation. And for us as a nation, where do we find healing when every day, the news seems to grow even more serious?
For me personally, my only advice is to stand firmly upon God’s Word, for that is where I find my comfort and strength. God’s Word has been the anchor for my own family in very desperate times, and it is the one thing that we can ALWAYS rely on. God’s Word never changes, and it contains all we need for hope, comfort, healing, wisdom and guidance.
If you are fearful, grieving or broken today, let the truth of God’s Word sink into your heart.
But you may say ‘What if we can’t stop this virus? What if it becomes widespread in the United Kingdom or wherever I live, as some experts predict?’
Well let’s stand firm upon His Word! Psalm 112:6-8 is a great encouraging reminder as to what our response should be. It says: ‘For the righteous will never be moved, he will be remembered forever, he is not afraid of bad news, his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord, his heart is steady, he will not be afraid.’
We all have to face bad news at some point in our life. If it’s not the virus, it will be something else. Let’s remind ourselves that we live in a fallen and broken world where suffering and even death are inevitable. To deny this truth would be lying to ourselves, but we as Christians do not need to fear bad news. It is important to not be in denial, and as a nation, we should take all sensible precautions, but we do not need to be crippled by the fear of what ‘might happen’. The psalmist demonstrates that it is possible to look bad news right in the face and say ‘You will NOT rule my heart.’ Our emotions may sway, but we will not be blown off course.
You might think that is easy for me to write, but practically, how can we rise above the circumstances when we are surrounded by fear?
Well, here are some practical responses:
Pray in FAITH. Remember faith is not denying fear but mastering it. What you fear the most reveals where you trust God the least. Therefore, put your faith in God and watch as He starts to eradicate your fears. ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer… believe that you have received it… and it will be yours’ (Mark 11:24).
Prepare WISELY. Don’t deny the facts, but plan wisely and let’s be aware of Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:12 KJV: ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ And the preceding verse tells us to be well prepared to ‘put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’
Proclaim HOPE. In this world of uncertainty, we can have great confidence as we hold on to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. And it enables us to ‘Rejoice in hope… be patient in tribulation… continue steadfastly in prayer’(Romans 12).
‘I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit‘ (Romans 15:13).