These are extraordinary times. The world has hit the panic button and people are filled with fear and confusion. Social media is filled with some who diminish the effect of Coronavirus and some who exaggerate the consequences of this virus. But the truth remains that the Devil loves to throw disease, pestilence, fear, and chaos at us and we as followers of Christ need to rise above the tsunami of fear and anxiety that sometimes seem to overwhelm us.
If we look at history in 249-262 A.D., Western civilization was hit by one of the deadliest pandemics in its history. This plague claimed an estimated 5000 people per day. Even though this plague did not discriminate between Christians and non-Christians, there was a noted difference between Christians and non-Christians' responses to the plague.
Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria wrote that the non-believers pushed the sufferers out at the first onset of the disease, throwing them into the road before they were even dead. Dionysius adds that the plague served as a “schooling and testing” for believers. He writes “most of them showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of the danger, they took care of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains” – meaning Christian service for their fellow believers stunned the unbelieving world - and this resulted in exponential growth in the early church!
So, the question is how should we as believers respond to COVID-19?
1) By setting ourselves apart with how we react to this situation- not being held hostage by fear and panic- instead modeling peace, love and Christian sharing. Reaching out to those who are struggling, especially the most vulnerable people.
2) By praying for those who are working in healthcare, first responders and people most vulnerable to the virus. Praying for those who have put their trust in this world, that they would come to know the love of Jesus.
3) By prudently abiding by the advice of medical professionals to help slow the disease.
Folks this is a time for us to be the conduit of Christ's presence, not to hide under a stone, gripped in fear. No one said that this life is going to be easy- but we have Christ! We have a new life! An eternal new life! Remember 1 Peter 5:7, "Let us cast all our anxieties to God, because he cares for us!"