As panic over the coronavirus (COVID-19) deepens and dominates the headlines, people are becoming fearful and wondering how to respond to this increasing alarm. According to the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 100 countries have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. Italy enforced an unprecedented, country-wide lockdown in an attempt to mitigate the virus’ spread. As of today, 938 cases have been reported in the US with 29 deaths (Center for Disease Control [CDC]). According to the CDC, “More cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States.”
Though many aspects of this outbreak are still unclear and uncertain, what should a Christian’s standpoint be at a time of crisis such as this? Yesterday, in our family prayer time, my 9-year-old son, Christoph interrupted me and said how wonderful it is to serve and worship a God who has ultimate authority and power over everything that is seen and unseen. He continued saying it is time for every believer to be on their knees and to call upon the Lord and the Lord will answer. His statements took me to 2 Chr 7:14, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, which says if we humble ourselves and earnestly seek His face, He will answer our prayers. I believe every trial and tribulation in our lives is a God-allowed opportunity for us to re-examine our conscience, draw closer to the Lord, and embrace Him from the depth of our hearts.
During this global crisis, it is important for believers not to become anxious or fearful, but to pray without ceasing so that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:4-7). It is our calling and responsibility as believers to rise up and cry out before the creator God on behalf of every people and every nation, for He answers the prayers of the righteous (Prov 15:29). Instead of our living in fear, God has ordained for His faithful to pray earnestly and fervently and bring Him glory (James 5: 17-18) through His mighty intervention. We are called to pray like Moses prayed in Exodus 17:11.
We must exercise a dimension of faith while battling mountains in this fallen world. Remember, Jesus prayed for His disciples to protect them from the evil one (Jn 17:15). Hasn’t God given us authority over every beast on earth? Hasn’t He said we have authority over snakes and scorpions in His name (Lk 10:19)? Our intimacy and oneness with Christ equip us to exercise this authority and take dominion over everything that He has asked us to take dominion over. Remember, while battling Goliath, David was more focused on the glory, power, and faithfulness of his God than on the physical strength of that giant. I believe this should be our attitude as Christians in battling the current corona virus outbreak. Our Lord is still on the throne: He holds complete authority over heaven and earth (Mt 28:18) and His arm is not too short to save us (Is. 59:1).
What do we need to do as individuals? Remember, worry is not our companion, and panic is not our style, rather respond with prayer. As a believer, every one of our prayers counts. Col 1:27 is a powerful verse: “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus—who raised the dead, healed the sick, and calmed the storm—is the hope and confidence of every believer.
Apostle Paul reiterates in his letter to the Romans that believers are sons and daughters and no longer slaves and that we can experience this freedom through the Holy Spirit that is alive in us. Romans 8:15 states, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The point is that the father in heaven will answer our prayers as sons and daughters. Even during this time of crisis, we see some news media taking advantage of the situation for political gain, leading people into further fear and confusion. It is high time that believers act with discernment and encourage and edify each other.
There is a realm of deepest intimacy with Christ that God is calling every believer to be in. In that realm of intimacy, we realize it is Christ who dwells within us (Gal 2:20), and once we know the truth, the truth will set us free (Jn 8:32). In that realm of intimacy with Christ, we find our true identity as children of God and we operate in the fullness of love, that perfect love which drives out fear (1 Jn 4:18).
I have always felt privileged to worship and serve this God who is the source of all love, joy, and peace. We have a high priest (Jesus) who understands every one of our sufferings and fears; therefore, let’s approach Him with great confidence so that we will find grace in this time of need (Heb 4: 15-16). In these times of fear and uncertainty, sons and daughters of God, we are called to lift up holy hands (1 Tim 2:8), interceding for the whole world.
Let’s stand united and lift up TMU, the state of Georgia, this great nation, and also the whole world, praying that this crisis will soon end and that there will be comfort and peace in the lives of all people. Remember, our God is still on the throne and He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).
Dr. Diby Paul is an Associate Professor of Biology at TMU.Return to Blog Archive