Originally published Monday, 16 March 2020.
Last week my daughter reminded me we ran out of hand soap, so I took a quick trip to Target after getting her to school to replenish. To my surprise, there was only one family size of antibacterial soap left. I was aware of the growing concerns of the coronavirus, but I wasn’t quite sure of its effects on people’s buying decisions quite yet until I started looking for toilet paper. Each day after that, I watched the serious efforts governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals were taking to prevent the spread of this disease.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the coronavirus (or Covid-19) a pandemic. A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that spreads across a vast region such as continents or worldwide. On March 13, 2020, the United States President Donald Trump announced the coronavirus pandemic to be a national emergency. Within hours entire state school systems closed, employees mandated to work from home, businesses closed, and grocery stores emptied.
As plans increased to combat the spread of this disease, anxieties increased as well. I became laser-focused to pray against this disease and the many people it’s affecting all around the globe.
Everyday challenges can be a test of our faith, no less a global pandemic. Not only are people worried about their health; as schools and jobs close, people are also concerned about childcare, elderly family in nursing homes, and bills. This pandemic is not only a threat to our health but our trust in God.
To help strengthen your faith in such an uncertain time, I’m sharing some encouraging reminders on how to keep your trust in God during a global pandemic.
CHOOSE FAITH OVER FEAR
First, let’s remember to let faith rule our hearts and not fear. I absolutely believe we should take this pandemic seriously, use precaution and exercise wisdom. At the same time, we can do so while keeping our faith in God.
If God took care of us before this pandemic, please know that He has not changed. Although everything is changing at rapid speed, God is not. He is the same faithful God before this outbreak that He will be once it passes. Our faith can be steady because our God is faithfully unchanging. This truth alone can strengthen us not to give in to fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 2:1-7 NKJV)
Fear can rob us of three essential gifts from God that we desperately need at this time. Power enables us to live a life of faith when it’s not easy. Love enables us to share and sacrifice when it’s not convenient. A sound mind allows us to experience peace, even when everything seems to be going wrong.
There is too much at stake to give in to fear during this season. Now more than ever, we need power, love, and a sound mind. Fear is too costly. Choose faith.
CHOOSE WISDOM OVER WORRY
While we can still maintain our faith because of our unchanging God, it is still important to exercise wisdom instead of becoming paralyzed by worry.
If there is an action you can do to protect yourself, do it. Use wisdom and listen to sound advice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered many ways people like you and I can do our part to slow the spread of this disease at www.cdc.gov.
It is also wise to ensure the sources of the information we consume are credible. There is a lot of false information circulating about the coronavirus that can be harmful by leading people to make unwise decisions based on information that is simply untrue. Read credible news outlets and gain information from the CDC, World Health Organization, and your state or local health department.
CHOOSE PRAYER OVER PANIC
While some may give in to cynicism and think there is nothing we can do, let’s not forget the power of prayer.
Prayer is the exact prescription the Bible gives us to cure anxiety. It’s easy to want to look at all the news outlets and overthink all the possible negative outcomes that can take place. All that will do is rob us of the peace God promises us for today. Philippians 4:6 tells us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
We can panic, or we can pray, but we can’t do both. Jesus called His church a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13), and now is our time. It’s time to pray for God’s intervention to stop the spread of this disease. It’s time to ask for healing. It’s time to ask for peace and comfort for those who have lost loved ones. It’s time for us to ask for direction and discernment for our leaders and our homes. Prayer is powerful and effective, and if we are too busy panicking instead of praying, we forfeit our greatest strength.
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we have the power to choose our response. When we choose faith over fear, wisdom over worry, and prayer over panic, we can experience the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” that we read about in Philippians 4:7. In doing so, we become the light of Christ in a very dark situation.
Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.