Or, How to live the Christian life through COVID-10. Or, Praying through crisis.
When we began this 40-day prayer challenge 18 days ago, we had no idea the world would be like it is today. But God did. When the world around us is filled with panic and anxiety, we know Who we can trust. We know Who to turn to in times of need. We know we’ll experience hard times, (John 16:33) but God has promised He’ll be right there with us! (Deuteronomy 31:6 again, along with Hebrews 13:5)
⇒ All throughout what I’ve written here are some of my favorite verses to focus on during hard times. Read them in your bible, pray these verses, meditate on them, get them from your head into your heart.
We choose love over fear
As followers of Jesus, as people who carry His Spirit with us continually, we do not have to fear. (1 John 4:8, John 14:1, Isaiah 43:1, many others!) We do not need to be emotionally tossed about like the shifting waves, we have confidence. We have supernatural ability to bring peace, and joy and love to every situation. We have the mind of Christ to guide us in every situation (1 Corinthians 2:16). Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). And we can bring peace to every situation we find ourselves in. Let’s be the peace the world needs right now. Let’s be the calm in the storm. Let’s be the light that shines in the darkness, ready to show the world around us why we have hope in crisis (1 Peter 3:15). Not being ignorant of this very real danger, or acting carelessly, but knowing where our hope is and why we don’t have to be anxious and fearful.
My favorite encouragement in hard times is Deuteronomy 31:6:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them [or COVID-19, or insert whatever you are fearful or anxious about here], for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
God is good. He is good beyond our wildest dreams. Our hope is in Him. We trust in Jesus. And the Lord loves us trusting Him so much!
Any time things are hard or uncertain, I love focusing on Matthew 6:33. After telling us not to worry about our life, Jesus tells us what to do instead: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Our job is to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first. God’s job is to provide us with all we need. We put Him first and He works everything else out. Such a good reminder during hard times!
We choose courage over comfort
Things to remember as we walk through uncertain times and a world filled with panic and anxiety:
In times of crisis, we need to act like the body of Christ more than ever.
We must put the good of others above our own. Phil 2:3 Changing our behavior for the good of those at risk, the most vulnerable, and our community as a whole instead of our own selfish desires.
We must love when we want to ignore. (Mark 12:31)
We must give when we want to hoard. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
We need to pray like lives depend on it, because they do.
We must be wise, and kind.
The old adage, we pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on us is perfect here. We need to be praying now more than ever. And we need to be exercising wisdom in action, filled with love. Doing all we can for those vulnerable around us, while also staying safe from spreading the virus.
We love our neighbors as ourselves
The best advice right now is to stay at home as best you can. Wash your hands, stop touching your face, keep 3 meters/ 10 feet between you and others in public. If you are well, check on those more at risk than you are. Pick up groceries and bring meals to elderly neighbors who shouldn’t be going into crowded stores right now!
In some areas, this is expected, in some it’s required, in some areas it’s viewed as extreme. The consequences of not changing our behavior now are very bad. But the risks of doing it are very low. This doesn’t mean it will be easy! Changing our schedules and missing work and having kids home from school all day will be hard. But none of this has taken God by surprise. And He has solutions for every one of your problems and concerns. This is why we need to be praying more now than ever. And being the hands and feet of Jesus more than ever.
This is the best write-up I’ve seen on what we need to do and why:
Here’s an excerpt:
This chart shows, for the 1918 flu in the US, how many more deaths there were per city depending on how fast measures were taken. For example, a city like St. Louis took measures 6 days before Pittsburg, and had less than half the deaths per citizen. On average, taking measures 20 days earlier halved the death rate.
Italy has finally figured this out. They first locked down Lombardy on Sunday, and one day later, on Monday, they realized their mistake and decided they had to lock down the entire country.
Hopefully, we will see results in the coming days. However, it will take one to two weeks to see. Remember the Wuhan graph: there was a delay of 12 days between the moment when the lockdown was announced and the moment when official cases (orange) started going down.
I’ve gotten so many messages from you asking what our response as believers should be? Is staying home a sign of weak faith? No, in this time, we must act for those vulnerable and at-risk across the globe. Many aren’t at great risk of the disease itself, but all of us are close to those who are! Slowing the spread of this disease will lessen the inundation of sick in hospitals, saving countless lives.
One of the most important things we can do is to lower the total number of people needing access to hospitals and medical staff at one time.
We trust in the One who is trustworthy
Times like this help us see our own hearts better. In times of crisis, it’s easier to see where our trust really lies. Is it truly in God? Is it in the stock market, in our businesses or work, is it in the government to make the right choices and protect us? Is it in our chosen news network whose interests are far removed from our own? It reveals our trust. It also gives us the opportunity to align our hearts with the Lord’s again, remind ourselves that He is greater than what we can see. Then we keep going and show the love of Jesus to a hurting world.
In times of uncertainty and crisis, we get back to basics. We seek the Lord first. (Matthew 6:33) We love our neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:31)
What GTF is doing
Please continue to pray for our volunteers and all we serve across the globe!
We will continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Those we serve need food and encouragement and love more now than ever.
Thankfully, our groups are small. Our people live communally, and our services have far fewer people than the recommended group size. So we’ll meet tomorrow for our Sunday services and intercede for all affected by this virus and for all to come into a relationship with Jesus.
Let’s stay together in love through this!