What do We Think About the Coronavirus?
As cases of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) pop up in the U.S. and our society grows increasingly concerned, Pastor Casey and I thought it best to share a few words with you all about what’s going on. In this post, we’ll cover 3 things everyone should know about COVID-19, 3 things every Christian should know, and 3 ways we can be praying.
Disclaimer: Nobody on our staff is a trained healthcare professional or epidemiologist. While the following represents a summary of publically available information, you’d be best served to do your own research and/or contact your healthcare provider.
What Everyone Should Know
Depending on which news outlet you consult, the panic over COVID-19 appears to be more severe than the actual disease itself. Here are three important facts to consider:
- Right now, The Flu is More of a Concern than COVID-19 – There are important differences between the different types of coronavirus and influenza that make it difficult to compare between the two. Still, doctors at Yale and Johns Hopkins report that, for the time being, the flu is having a more significant impact on Americans. This should help keep things in perspective as well as inform how we ought to protect ourselves (see below).
- How to Protect Yourself – COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets, but the best defense isn’t a face mask; it’s good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Failing that, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. If you sneeze or cough, use a tissue and dispose of it in the trash. Regularly disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
- What to Do If You Feel Ill – Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, and severe difficulty breathing. Officials from the CDC are advising symptomatic patients to stay home and contact a healthcare provider for guidance.
For more, see:
- 5 Things Everyone Should Know About the Coronavirus Outbreak
- CDC: About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- What You Really Need to Know About Coronavirus
What Every Christian Should Know
Whether COVID-19 pans out to be a true crisis in our midst or not, there are people around the world who are suffering right now either from the disease itself or the measures being used to contain it. As Christians, we must hold on to a few key truths in the face of such suffering:
- God is Sovereign – Though we may not understand what He’s up to, the God who does not allow a sparrow to drop to the ground apart from His will (Matt 10:29) has allowed this crisis to befall the world. The good news in that: the Creator of this world neither sleeps nor slumbers (Ps 121:1). He is infinitely wise (Job 12:13; Prov 3:19; Isa 55:9). He knows what He’s doing. We can trust Him.
- The World is Broken – The effects of sin on our world are pervasive: the creation is subject to futility (Rom 8:20), human beings succumb to illness (Ps 32:3; Rom 6:23), and political leaders refuse to humble themselves before God (Psalm 2). Support for medical intervention is crucial, but we must also pray for God’s grace and mercy to abound to our fallen world.
- Our Suffering Servant Has Drawn Near – Jesus Christ took on human flesh (Rom 8:3) so that He could identify with us in our suffering (Heb 2:14-18). He will neither leave nor forsake us—even amid crisis. For those churches on the frontlines of this crisis, Jesus is present and active, sending the Spirit to empower His people for works of mercy.
For more, see:
- The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About the Wuhan Coronavirus
- 4 ways Christians can make sense of coronavirus in a fallen world
- Coronavirus, Christians, and a Christ-Centered Response
What to Pray For
Whatever else we do to support those who are suffering through this crisis, God calls us to pray. As a pastor from Wuhan (“ground zero” for this outbreak) recently wrote, “If you do not feel a responsibility to pray, ask the Lord for a loving soul, an earnestly prayerful heart; if you are not crying, ask the Lord for tears. Because we surely know that only through the hope of the Lord’s mercy will Wuhan be saved.” Here are a few things we can be praying for:
- The Peace of Christ to Reign in All Our Hearts – The peace of Christ is not an escape clause in times of trouble. Instead, it is the firm assurance that He is with us in the midst of it (John 14:27). Because He has overcome the world (16:33), His peace can rule in our hearts (Col 3:15). Pray that we, our neighbors, and especially those who’ve been afflicted can know the peace of Christ even in these trying times.
- The Lord’s Mercy Upon Those Who Are Suffering – Though we should be wary of drawing lines between God’s judgment and any particular disease (John 9), there is one thing we can know for sure: our God is merciful (Ex 34:6). Out of the depths, we cry to Him for mercy on ourselves, our nation, and all who suffer right now (Ps 130:1-2).
- The Church’s Witness in Both Word and Deed – There are churches on the front lines of this disease ministering to the needs of their neighbors. There are also churches like ours—far from the center of things yet very close to scared and confused neighbors. In whatever way this crisis meets God’s people, we pray that His Church would be a beacon of hope and light to an otherwise darkened world (1 Pet 2:9).
For more, see:
May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus as we watch this crisis unfold (Phil 4:7). “In this time of confused situations,” may our church be an outpost of Gospel sanity and clarity. Our God is on His throne. We must never forget that He has not given us a spirit of fear but one of power, love, and sound mind.
I pray our neighbors in Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills, and beyond would see that in us and find hope.
If you find yourself overly anxious or scared about this issue, then please let us know. Someone from our church would be happy to speak with and pray for you.