The entire world is under great stress and anxiety. Many people all over the globe are sick and in dire need of help. Families across this planet are mourning the deaths of loved ones.
What are we do to? What is the Christian response? I believe there is a two-fold response that we can take.
Faith in the Sovereign God
First, as we understand Who God is, we have no reason to worry, fret, or give in to anxious thoughts. The Scriptures declare God to be sovereign, meaning that He is in complete control. On Wednesday evenings we have been examining the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. On God, the BF&M states,
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
If you are interested in the Scripture that proves this statement, start with these: Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
God reigns with providential care, and as such, COVID-19, or any other affliction which may beset us are simply tools in the hands of our gracious God. We need not worry about tomorrow, because God is in control.
(I recently preached a sermon from this statement, and I would encourage you to listen to it here: warriorcreek.org/sermons, sermon title "BF&M: God the Father")
Secondly, we need to exercise good sense. Biblical wisdom is extremely practical. A look through the book of Proverbs will yield example after example of practical, common sense. God wants us to exercise faith (Heb. 11:6), but He never wants us to foolishly tempt Him (Deut. 6:16; Matt. 4:7).
Part of exercising good sense is following our God-ordained leadership and experts in the various fields of learning. Many churches, organizations, and other entities are attempting to slow down the spread of COVID-19 by limiting or reducing public gatherings. Some local and state governments are mandating these observations. Obviously, we need to exercise good sense.
How can we exercise good sense? To begin with, we can limit physical interaction. That means we can refrain from hugging, shaking hands, and other such exercises. This is good sense. In addition, if you are ill, you can love your neighbor by staying home and recovering. There is no need to spread the illness further.
By trusting God's sovereignty and exercising good sense, we can grow through this trying time that is afflicting our world, our nation, and perhaps even our individual lives.
Other Practical Helps
We can also do a few more things to help. First, we can pray. We can pray for our world and those suffering. We can also pray for the medical staff and their families during this affliction. Furthermore, we can pray for the Gospel to penetrate hard hearts. Often during times like this, people are more open to God as they face their own mortality. Pray for churches, too, as they seek to minister to those in their communities. You can also pray for pastors (including me!) as we seek to minister to the members of our congregations.
For More Information
Here are a few links that can help you get more information, be more equipped, and be more effective in your prayers.
Above all, brothers and sisters, let us trust our gracious Father as He works through this situation, bearing with those in need with patience, glorifying God as we respond in love to one another and our neighbors.