As I write this, there are 125,081 cases of COVID-19 and 4,590 deaths from it and the numbers are sure to climb. Italy is on lockdown. Airlines are canceling flights. Events have been postponed. It is dominating the news cycle. As Christians, how ought we to process this?
1) Remember death
I know, I know, this isn’t what you wanted to hear. But only a fool insulates oneself from death (Ps. 90:12; 39:4). Chances are very high you won’t die from COVID-19, but you will die from something already circulating through your veins: the virus of mortality. Are you prepared? Can you say with the apostle Paul: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Phil. 1:23)? These are good moments to nurture this kind of spiritual posture.
2) Do not fear
The default posture of fear is like wearing those “Impairment Goggles” I wore in driver’s ed. to show you what it’s like to be drunk. Just like that, fear distorts reality. If you are already afraid, you are not seeing reality as it is. Yes, we’re in a storm, but sometimes Jesus leads us into storms to test the mettle of our faith and to show us more of who he is (Luke 8). Remember, even natural forces that intend to harm us are subject to his authoritative voice.
Pray for those on the front lines of managing this. Pray for those working hard to protect human life from this. Pray for those who have already lost loved ones due to this. Pray for Jesus to come back to take us to a new creation he has prepared where there will be no more crying or mourning or pain! (Rev. 21:1-4).
4) Revise your priorities
Moments like this possess a real knack for getting us to take a look at what’s important to us. Maybe there are some revisions you need to make. That social media post that caused you some angst maybe shouldn’t bother you so much. The bad grade you got on that test is probably not as big a deal as it feels. The ten extra gray hairs and five additional wrinkles you spotted in the mirror this morning are likely not important enough to live rent-free in your head.
But how was your time in God’s Word today? What did he show you? Did you talk with God and enjoy a time of worship today? Did you spend some time talking with your spouse about the numerous blessings God has given you over the course of your marriage? Did you enjoy that game of Candyland with your kids? What’s really important? Do that.
5) Hope in Jesus
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).