Faithfulness and the Coronavirus
Many are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, Pastor Eugene shares how we, as children of God, should respond in such uncertain circumstances.
Many, if not most, of us have been monitoring the situation concerning the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The elders are also keeping a close watch on developments. We continue to ask church members and visitors to take precautions according to the government’s guidelines (www.moh.gov.sg).
In such a time as this, it is natural to be worried and scared. We will be anxious about our health, as well as the well-being of our loved ones. As a father of two children in primary school, I get apprehensive about their health and safety.
We also become fearful because the situation can make us feel helpless and not in control. Yes, we can be diligent about taking care. But there is so much that we either do not know of or cannot help. It is tempting to give in to discouragement, fear and anxiety.
Therefore, along with protecting our physical health, we should also reflect on the state of our spiritual health. Specifically, what is our spiritual response to the coronavirus? May faith, not fear, fuel the way we respond to the uncertain circumstances!
What might faithfulness look like?
1. We can trust God with our worries and anxieties
We can be honest and humble before God. He knows us and He knows what we are going through, because He remains absolutely sovereign. This is the reason why we can cast our anxieties on Him. Cry out to God in prayer. Keep our hearts fixed on Him. Not only does God care for us, but He is also in complete control of all situations, contingencies and circumstances. God will not be caught out by a virus outbreak.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’… You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” (Ps 91:1-2, 5-6)
2. We rejoice and hope in Jesus’ victory over death
Remember and rejoice in the truth that our Lord has conquered the grave! Because of what Jesus has done through his life, death and resurrection, death has lost its sting. In Christ, we have the sure hope of glory. If we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. Thus we no longer need to fear disease and death.
So don’t lose sight of God’s great salvation. If God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? God has not promised us a trouble-free life immune from pain, sickness and suffering, but He has promised us final glory through our trials. And should God call us to walk through the fire and flood, we can be certain that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Death will not have the last word. In an open letter calling for prayer from Christians around the world, an anonymous Wuhan pastor wrote: “Christ has already given us his peace, but his peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster and death, because Christ has already overcome these things.”
3. We serve others and encourage them to also trust God
Fear, like a virus, can be contagious. We must avoid fear mongering and spreading fake news that will only stoke further anxiety. Instead, as God’s people, should we not hold forth the word of life to a fearful world with even greater clarity and compassion?
We have a responsibility to take wise and necessary precautions to safeguard the health of our loved ones and ourselves. But let’s also be mindful of our calling to be salt and light in the world. Our self-protection should not become selfishness. We should not be reckless, but we should not be unfaithful either. We have a stewardship from God to be His witnesses in the world, and to be His channels of grace and encouragement to our fellow believers.
In the 16th century, the German reformer Martin Luther ministered during a time when a deadly plague emerged in his town. He wrote that those in ministry “must remain steadfast before the peril of death”. Even as Luther urged his readers not to recklessly expose themselves to danger, he also challenged Christians to take up opportunities to serve Christ.
At the last judgment, Jesus will say to His people, “I was sick and you visited me.” To which, believers will ask, “When did we see you sick…and visit you?” And the King will answer, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matt 25:36-40)
Let us therefore display the love of Christ by serving and encouraging others, for we can be sure that in the Lord our labour is not in vain.