“Mom, did you hear the news? They’re closing the schools for two weeks because of the Coronavirus. Mom, everyone’s crying. What’s going on?”
“Ree, run out to the store and buy more toilet tissue, paper towels, food, especially non-perishables. Go now.”
These are some of the conversations I had with my daughter and husband when the governor of Maryland issued lockdown orders. I'm 49 years old and have never experienced a lockdown. These were indeed unprecedented times. I simply didn’t know how to respond.
Over the next few weeks, I felt many negative emotions—fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety being just a few. I opened my Bible one day, and my eyes fell on Psalms 91. I read the verses and found the peace and comfort I desperately needed. Reading God’s word, I realized my reaction to Covid-19 wasn't how God wanted me to respond; it was how Satan wanted me to respond.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)
Fear causes us to do and say things that are contrary to the word of God. Fear will cause us to spread conspiracy theories, furthering fear-mongering amongst our families and friends. God doesn't want us to respond by fear. He wants us to respond to the Coronavirus by faith, knowing, and believing that God is with us and is protecting us.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.” (Proverbs 15:18, NASB)
Another way Satan wants us to respond to the Coronavirus is anger. Over the past two and a half months, I’ve seen people get angry with their family and friends, politicians, and medical experts. Anger is one of Satan’s best tools because an angry person doesn’t listen to wise instruction, choosing instead to close their hearts and minds. We must be careful about anger taking root in our hearts. We can do that by nurturing our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can press into Him and confess everything we're feeling and experiencing because He desires to help us.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20, NASB)
In addition to becoming angry with medical experts, Satan also causes us to distrust doctors and specialists. There are many people on social media dispensing unsound medical advice. Perhaps they heard the information from a friend, family member, or leader. They choose to take dangerous advice instead of the advice of those who attended medical school and are practicing physicians. I believe God placed doctors on this earth, and I think He wants us to heed their wise instruction (as long as it doesn't run contrary to His word). He doesn't want us to ignore sound medical advice. He wants us to pray about the information, lift it up to Him, and follow His instructions.
4. Lack of Faith
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV)
Satan wants us to lose hope and faith in God. He knows if we lose hope and faith, we’ll succumb to his tricks and schemes. Further, when we don’t have faith and hope, we’ll engage in sinful behaviors. God wants us to cling to our hope. Hope is an anchor that keeps us "sure and steadfast" (see Hebrews 6:19). He doesn't want us to lose our faith during a pandemic. He wants our faith to increase.
There’s no denying the social distancing and stay at home orders were stressful to Americans. I'll be 50 this year, and I've never experienced anything like the Coronavirus pandemic. Stress causes us to seek coping mechanisms. Although we should seek God through prayer and His word, many people turn to drugs, alcohol, and other sinful vices. Satan wants us to respond to stress without turning to God. He wants us to become addicted to these vices. However, God wants us to cope with stress by pressing in closer to Him, trusting Him with all our troubles. 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to cast our cares on God because He cares for us. So, stop holding on to stress and anxiety, and cast them on God. He’s better equipped to handle them.
I remember going into Sam's Club on a Monday and seeing plenty of toilet tissue, paper towels, and bottled water. I went back Wednesday, and the shelves were completely empty of these items. I started seeing reports on social media of people buying out stores' complete inventory of toilet tissue, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. God wants us to use wisdom, but Satan wants us to be selfish and hoard items that we know our neighbors and others will need. Don't allow Satan to cause you to hoard items. Trust God. He knows what we need and He will provide it (see Matthew 6:33 for comfort).
Related: Listen to Our FREE Coronavirus Podcast: Christians in a Time of Coronavirus!
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27, NASB)
One day I coughed and thought, “I wonder if that’s the Coronavirus.” I know other people who were thinking the same thing whenever they coughed, sneezed, or experienced shortness of breath. Satan wants fear to creep into our hearts and cause us to think and act irrationally. He wants us to become hypochondriacs. Instead, speak the Word of God over your life, trust the Lord, and use wisdom.
8. Walking Foolishly & Putting Yourself in Harm’s Way
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (Proverbs 12:15, NASB)
Early in the pandemic, I personally knew three people who’d contracted the Coronavirus. One of them died. It was then that I knew the dangers of the virus. Further, I’m a breast cancer survivor who takes medication for high blood pressure. So, I’m high risk. When Maryland’s Governor issued the stay at home order, I stayed home. And I was diligent about my husband and kids thoroughly washing their hands when they returned home from being in the public.
Unfortunately, I also witnessed many people taking the Coronavirus as a joke, foolishly putting themselves and others in harm’s way. I believe that was a trick of the devil to sicken as many people as possible. The book of Proverbs is full of advice on walking wisely. Instead of walking foolishly, Christians should study the book of Proverbs and learn how to walk wisely, understanding that faith and wisdom go hand-in-hand.
I need to confess something to you. I was overwhelmed with obtaining the latest information on Coronavirus and started scrolling social media more than praying. I grabbed my phone when my alarm went off in the morning, and reading the news was the last thing I did before I went to bed at night. I was overwhelming myself with Coronavirus news. That played into the devil's hands. Reading the news and being informed is essential, but not more important than praying. Don't let the enemy trick you into praying less. Pray more. Pray without ceasing.
10. Less Fellowship
“Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25, NASB)
I’m a big believer that Christians draw strength from one another. Satan wanted Christians to stop fellowshipping. When we stop fellowshipping, we can't edify one another, comfort one another, or help one another. However, we're living in a technologically advanced era with Zoom, Facebook, Youtube, telephones, etc. Although Satan wanted us to stop fellowshipping, technology made it easier than ever. Through the use of technology, Sunday service, midweek services or Bible studies, and women's and men's meetings continued. The telephone allowed us to call and text one another, and cars allowed us to drive by one another's homes to say hello (from a distance, of course). Don’t stop fellowshipping. Pick up the phone and call someone. Check in on others and see how they’re doing.
As I sit typing this article, the Coronavirus is still ravaging our nation, but we aren't reading about it as much as we were in March, April, and early to mid-May. News about the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests are in the news. The same advice concerning how we react to the coronavirus can be applied to Christians regarding the social upheaval we're currently experiencing.
There will always be something going on. The news will always have a story that captivates, angers, or fills us with fear and dread. Although the news changes, God doesn't. He and His word are always the same. Instead of allowing the news to move you, stay firmly planted in God and the Bible. When we do that, we'll be "...like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers" (Psalm 1:3).