This has been quite the week. Not since 9-11 has there been legitimate breaking news in such rapid-fire succession. The World Health Organization’s declaration of the coronavirus as a global pandemic has brought about countless cancellations over the past 24 hours. The NBA has suspended their season. Ditto for the NHL. Major League Baseball has canceled spring training and postponed Opening Day. March Madness has been canceled.
But these interruptions to our sense of normalcy are not limited to sports. Travel from Europe has been suspended. Many colleges and universities are switching to online classes for the remainder of the semester. Public schools in my home state will most likely be closed for at least the next two weeks. Many nursing homes and prisons will not be accepting visitors for the foreseeable future. Conferences of all kinds are being canceled after months (and sometimes years) of planning and preparation. And some states are advising churches to cancel worship services in light of the outbreak.
In times like these, it’s easy to succumb to fear. Or worry. Or anxiety. Or doubt. Or panic. Or (if we’re honest), all of the above. Yet, as Christians, we know that God is in control, and we don’t have to worry. But, it’s always good to remind ourselves of that fact. Take a few moments to read the Bible verses below. May they give us courage as we face these challenging days.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”
This promise to Israel applies to us today. We do not face difficult days alone. God is with us and will strengthen us. So we don’t need to be consumed with fear or worry.
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”
Paul tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear. Therefore, if we are overwhelmed with fear regarding the coronavirus or any other difficult circumstance, we can be certain that fear does not come from God.
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Paul tells us there’s really nothing that we should worry about. Instead of worrying, there’s another way we can spend our time: prayer. As we pray, God will give us His peace, and He will protect our hearts and minds from fear and worry. This is certainly a time for God’s people to fall on our knees and cry out to the Lord.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created things will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can separate us from the love of God! What a comforting thought in these uncertain days. While we may not be certain what the future holds concerning the coronavirus, we can be certain who holds the future.
“Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any one of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you – you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This is my favorite passage on this topic. God knows what we need, and He takes care of His children. So, instead of worrying about our lives, we can spend our time trusting God and seeking His kingdom. And besides, worrying about things such as the coronavirus won’t help in the slightest.
Please don’t misunderstand. The coronavirus is a serious threat. As Christians, we should take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, and I’m so thankful for those who are offering guidance for how to do so.
We should take the coronavirus seriously, but we shouldn’t worry about it.
My prayer is that we will remind ourselves of this truth often in the days ahead.