So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10, NIV
Many in our world today are racked with fear. The Covid-19 virus dominates their thoughts. The media thrives on whipping up fear. It is understandable that those who do not know God are scared. The world is shaking and if your life is not built on a firm foundation then everything is shaking.
Christians are discovering how much of their faith is in themselves, their government or in God. It is natural, in these circumstances, to feel the emotion of fear. The devil whispers his doomsday, worse-scenerio thoughts in our ears. However, it is our choice whether we embrace them or reject them based on the Word of God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings and that includes all things even viruses. The Christian can have confidence that Christ is in control not only of their lives, but also of world events. We are not to be reckless, but neither do we move in fear. Christians should be bringing comfort to those in physical or emotional distress at this time. They should be introducing them to the only Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ. We cannot do this if we are operating from a base of fear ourselves.
Throughout history, Christians have responded to plagues and other crisis by ministering to those who are suffering. This crisis is not different. For example, Samaritan’s Purse recently brought a field hospital along with medical supplies and personnel to Northern Italy. Of course, it is unlikely that you will heard of any of this in the secular news media feeding fear, panic and government control.
Jesus Himself touched the unclean including contagious lepers. Down through the ages, Christians have done the same. And, yes, sometimes they have caught the diseases of the people they were ministering to and willing laid down their lives for their Love and King.
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:19, NIV
Our world has rejected God. Even in this crisis it continues to pursue its anti-God agenda of murder and perversion as it worships its false gods. About 125,000 pre-born children are murdered every day throughout the world often with the active support of governments and citizens. [How does that compare with the entire death rate of Covid-19?] Their innocent blood cries out to God. Promotion of euthanasia, bans on so-called conversion therapy, promotion of unGodly sexual lifestyles and more continue unabated.
What will turn this crisis around? Genuine, national repentance. Is that likely to come from government leaders and the news media? No. It must come as the “average” citizen repents and chooses to follow God regardless of the consequences - regardless if there is earthly deliverance or not.
Should churches be closing their doors? In my opinion, no. It is to the church that people should be looking for courage and leadership. It is in corporate worship that we open the door for the presence of God to enter our lives and our world. Yes, private worship is important as well, but there is a special dynamic in corporate worship. Certainly the principle of Deut. 20:8 [Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”] should be in effect. Members who are fearful of public meetings should be encouraged to stay at home without fear, guilt or condemnation. We are all to operate at our level of faith and not look down on weaker brothers or sisters. If it becomes actually illegal for churches to hold public meetings then the leaders will have to decide if they should risk possible negative public opinion and criminal consequences or not.
One possible option for churches which wish to compile with government requests/commands to limit meetings to a certain number of people [currently 50 where I live], is to offer worship services at various times for which people must register in advance to ensure that there are not more than the limited number at any one time. As for myself, as long as any Christian church has open doors in my community I will be there on Sunday morning - as long as I am not working as I sometimes must. Another option is for the worship service to be broadcast over the Internet to small groups meeting in homes [as opposed to individuals].
We all know what the physical requirements are: washing hands etc. But I want to make some recommendations that go beyond that.
1. Limit your time with the news. We do need to be informed of what is happening around us, but feeding our minds on it all the time will only breed fear. Perhaps as a general rule, time spent with God [worshipping, praying, reading the Bible] should be 2 to 3 times [at least] that spent watching the news.
2. Repent and abandon any sin you may have been harbouring in the secret of your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and bring to mind anything that needs confession. This includes things like bitterness and unforgiveness.
3. Pray for and encourage those in and out of the Christian community who are suffering from fear at this time.
4. Make sure Covid-19 is not your only - or even main - topic of conversation.
5. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves you far more than you can ever imagine.