“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
Matthew 19:26 CSB
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”
2 Timothy 1:7 CSB
The past twenty-four hours have been a very interesting time for me. Currently, I teach courses at two area community colleges and a nursing school. Because of fears in regards to COVID-19, Governor DeWine directed all colleges and universities to move to online instruction to help lessen the spread of the virus. Since last night, I have been formulating plans for teaching as well as how True Vision will handle COVID-19 if the need arises. In fact, pastors, business leaders, and governments from across the country have had to grapple with similar issues. Also, there has been a lot of fear-mongering within the news and social media which is causing a lot of anxiety and fear. We see it manifesting particularly with the fights over toilet paper (for which I am still trying to figure out the correlation).
Matthew 19:26 is the state motto of Ohio and is a fitting scripture for the times we are in. We have to remember that nothing is impossible with God. Fear creates hopelessness, which creates a sense of insanity. We have to remember that God has the master plan, knows what is happening, and sees the solution before it can even come to our minds. As more and more cases become known, we have to understand that God is the one who holds the plans. He will sustain us physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially and will keep us stable and grounded.
2 Timothy 1:7 is a reminder of God’s nature and lordship in our lives. It is not the job of the church to create a culture of fear but to respond in love and wisdom in a way that is connected to the Holy Spirit. As things happen, churches—ours included—will have to make decisions for the good of the members and the community at large. That’s wisdom. If you are sick, staying home is wise. As I type this, I remember that I am the worst at staying home but will do it if needed.
Matthew 10:16 (CSB) states, “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.” Although the original context is dealing with persecution, we can still apply this principle to our current situation. We must function in wisdom while still walking in peace and purity. Fear takes us out of conversation with God and builds covenant with the flesh. We have to be aware of what’s going on, walk in God’s peace, move accordingly, and still be a witness.
So, what do we do?
First, trust God and pray. Pray for your governmental leaders, pastors, employers, and those who make the hard decisions. We know that God has this all under control and that he has us covered. Pray for those affected by the virus especially those who have lost loved ones.
Second, do not engage in conversation without knowing the facts first. Make sure that you are doing your research through unbiased and qualified sources, and don’t believe everything you hear until it is confirmed by one of those sources. Also, do not believe everything you see on social media. I cannot stress that enough. Verify everything before you post it. God has not given us a spirit of fear, so don’t contribute to making people fearful.
Finally, use common sense. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze, and stay home if you have flu-like symptoms. I’m a hugger but I know hugging may not be a thing for a second, so I have to think of other ways to greet people. Also, disinfect surfaces, keep hand sanitizer on you, and use your best judgement in going to events. Also, toilet paper and COVID-19 really have no correlation and are not worth getting into fights over.