Nothing brings character out quite like crisis. You will see some of the most courageous people charge into a burning building, but sadly, you will also see the ones who knock down the weak, trampling them to escape calamity. You will see people who instill fear, take advantage of a bad situation, yet also the helpers, the ones who pick up the fallen, serve the weak, despite their own trepidation, and give more than they take. I would like to think that all followers of Jesus fall into only one of the above mentioned categories, but sadly we all can fall to fear, panic, and survival of the fittest. Yet, in a time of chaos and uncertainty, I believe God calls His children to a deeper level of trust in Him. So, consider this a friendly reminder, to all of us who profess the faith, to follow the commands God has put forth for us in His word.
Without further ado, here are three things God is telling us amidst COVID-19.
1. Stay home! I want to put this as best as I can. I completely understand the fear of losing financial resources. I totally do. Most of us don’t have a huge savings built up, but I’m trying to encourage a kingdom mindset amongst all of this. I want my brothers and sisters out there to try and see this situation as an opportunity to grow deeper in dependence and relationship with Jesus, to not fear the waves that come, but trust the one who controls the storms. It’s not the boat that will save you; it’s the One who controls the ocean. He will provide.
Also, let’s think about what’s important. Is it staying current on bills or human life? Trust me as a healthcare provider on the frontline of this. It’s serious. People are dying. Maybe not you, the healthy twenty-something, but you can be without symptoms at the beginning of the virus and pass it along to people you do care about. Your grandparents, your friend’s immune-compromised child. Life will always trump bank balance.
Then there’s this little nugget.
Romans 13:1-2 (NIV)
Submission to Governing Authorities
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Please trust the experts in disease transmission on this. Let’s not listen to that mom in your private Facebook group.
I won’t say I believe every word from a politician’s mouth or especially the news, but I do obey the authorities God has placed over me. Our government has given very clear and strong recommendations, and a large number of people are still ignoring the highly-educated, well-established plans to slow the spread of this virus. You are hurting others, you are hurting yourself, and you are disobeying more than the president you don’t like. You’re disobeying scripture. Let’s humble ourselves under the authority God has placed over us, trust that His plans will prevail, and stay home! I’m a nurse and a Christian. I trust medical science, but above all my Savior. God has given us healthcare and healthcare providers with the knowledge to save us. Let’s trust that God-given wisdom that says staying home will keep this from getting bigger than our hospitals and medical supplies can handle. Please.
2. Stop hoarding food! I have had friends inquire of my family, if we have enough. Since we started living in an RV we have limited space for storage, period. Our fridge is small, our pantry also. We can store about enough for a week for our family of five, and that means frequent grocery trips. This past week I went shopping after a twelve hour shift at the hospital bedside, and as most of you know, the shelves were bare. Yet as I made my way through the aisles I always found one to two of every item I needed, even if it wasn’t my typical brand. By the way, I only took one, leaving the other for the next person.
Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
I’m reminded of the Israelites in the desert. God provided enough manna for each day. Some tried to take more and keep it for the next day, but He caused it to spoil. He wanted them to understand that He was their provider, and they could trust Him to give exactly what they needed. I’ll bet there’s a lot of people today who may end up throwing out some food they bought in over abundance, never realizing that God wanted to show them what He could give them.
Jesus came showing us how to be servants, showing us that the first would be last, and the last first. He saw people in need and He fed them. Never once did He hold onto what God had given Him and not share with the rest. He didn’t take all the fish and bread from the little boy and split it with His disciples. He thanked God for the little He had, then God multiplied that gratitude to feed five thousand. Imagine the blessings we are missing out on because instead of thanking God for what we’ve been given that we need, we’re taking more than enough right out of the hands of the hungry. It’s going to rot.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Don’t let fear drive your actions. I love my family, and I feel the need to take care of them. I understand that you want to get your family what they need, but stop and consider the fact that fear is driving you to load up a shopping cart with sixteen cases of water and twelves packs of toilet paper.
Which leads us to the third yet biggest commandment He’s speaking during this time.
3. Do not fear!
I say it again. Do. Not. Fear. There’s a reason this is the most repeated phrase in scripture. You see, fear is from the devil, and fear is a liar. Is all this kinda scary? You betcha butt! I am walking into a lockdown, negative air pressure, isolation, COVID-19 unit at work. Tons of healthcare providers around the country are doing this. If we let fear rule our actions, we would shut them all in a room and let nature take its course, but no, we go in and provide the very best, life-saving care we can. Are we afraid of catching the virus, or perhaps spreading it to our family? Of course! But we don’t let fear dominate and rule our actions. The reason the Bible says so frequently not to fear is because God knows we will. Sin has created some really crazy, frightening things out there, but faith in Jesus gives us a mode to combat fear and not let it rule our hearts and lives. He has overcome all evil, and COVID is no different. Even death has lost its sting, y’all. I serve a creator who gives eternal life, and the gift He offers is bigger than the most fatal of diseases.
Do you think this surprises God? Do you think He is as shocked as we all are by the death toll in Italy? No!
Psalm 139:16 ESV
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
God knows beginning to end. He knew this was coming, and He knows how it will end. He knows the solution. He knows the good that will come from this. What the enemy means for evil, God will turn to our good. We have a tendency to forget that.
God is whispering amongst the chaos,
come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I will give you peace. I do not give as the world gives. Take comfort, for I have overcome the world. There it is. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wasteland and streams in the desert. Hope like a river, it flows to those who trust in me. Do not be afraid. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Your foot will not strike the stone. I will rescue you.
If I were to offer any advice during this time of social distancing it would be this. Use this time to read the Bible. Y’all! There’s a wealth of truth and wisdom from the Lord inside those pages. Let them be a healing balm to your worried soul. Let them guide your decisions so that fear doesn’t lead you, but His peace sustains you. Listen to the real expert on what’s happening. Don’t just take my word for it.