No doubt about it, the message that we are now receiving from our national leadership professionals in medicine, economics and politics is that the coronavirus will have a profoundly more widespread impact than perhaps originally perceived.
As more and more measures are taken to limit the potential for contact with infected people (social distancing), it tends to lead us down the very precarious path of imagining the “what if the worst happens” scenario.
Just yesterday, longer lines are being seen in places of bulk grocery and home supply distribution and the likelihood that further public gathering opportunities will be curtailed is seemingly inevitable.
Thankfully, the great majority of our population should not suffer significant physical implications, although it is clear that older people and particularly those with other pre-existing conditions are most vulnerable to serious medical consequences. (Think about the thousands of people just in our area that are currently in nursing homes, retirement villages, etc., who would be much more susceptible than others.)
There is one particular posture that I think is absolutely critical for every Christ follower to embrace in this time. What we are facing has taken place literally thousands of times during the course of redemptive history. Scripture is full of the accounts where the people of God faced situations that naturally speaking produced great fear because there was no certainty about the future or clear way though the potential pain, suffering and confusion that seemed to be about to overwhelm them. It was in those very moments that the Lord was preparing His plan for the deliverance of His people and He called upon them through His prophets, His leaders and His men and women of faith to believe and trust more in God’s faithfulness than the fear that was consuming their hearts and minds.
That’s it in a nutshell loved ones. It’s fear vs faithfulness that every one of us must consider in every dimension of our personal, family and corporate lives in the coming weeks. I’ve been blessed by God to have lived through a number of these kinds of situations as far back as gasoline shortages that potentially were going to cripple our nation’s economy in the early 70’s, the widespread uncertainty that lead to a fair amount of hoarding and hysteria as we approached the Y2K event at the turn of the millennium, the 9-11 strike and days of uncertainty that followed that tragic occurrence when all flights domestic and foreign were cancelled as well as other rather draconian measures and perhaps most recently the financial crash of 2008.
In all of these fear was widespread in its manifestations clearly seen in the habits and practices of individuals let alone groups, institutions and businesses. However, in every situation God’s faithfulness was the true “safe haven” as those with a spirit of discernment knew that nothing was outside of God’s control and that fear would not and could not overwhelm the faithfulness of God in caring for His people.
And so, in the immediate future, may I encourage you to pray faithfully for our nation, and the people of the world who might be suffering with fallout from this virus even more than we are, until the tide begins to turn. Pray for the people of our nation to have their hearts opened to recognize just how fragile the lifestyle that we have created and the things in which we put our energy and trust in really are. Along with protection from illness and/or serious implications, pray that the Lord opens hearts and conversations and exchanges as we go through this together.
Remember in the end, God’s faithfulness will always defeat a spirit of fear.