I can’t believe I am even jumping in on this conversation. There is such a wide range of opinions regarding the Corona Virus pandemic. There is criticism for those who have panicked and criticism for those who are living their normal lives. There is criticism for those who have prepared and for those who have blown it off as media hype. I hope I fall somewhere in the middle.
I have extra toilet paper. There. I said it. I just keep thinking that if all my kids end up coming home, that is a lot of… well, let’s just say we will need it. I also have extra cleaning supplies. And canned goods. You see, ever since Y2K I have believed in a well-stocked pantry, cause you just never know. And yes, nothing happened with Y2K, and no one (including me) wanted to admit they bought flashlights and canned goods. But this is not Y2K—it’s not some possibility that might happen. This is a reality. Maybe it won’t be bad in our area—wouldn’t that be a mercy? That is what we hope and pray for. But still, there is such a thing as COVID-19 and it can be bad—very bad for some people. I think everything we do should be reflective of our love for God and our love for others. Those are the two greatest commandments, after all.
So, let’s take the first and most important commandment. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. So what does that look like in the crazy days we are living in? First of all, it means we pray. And we don’t pray as one with no hope. We pray acknowledging that He loves us. As I am thinking of my kids when I prepare, even more so, He thinks of us. He has given us every assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will be faithful to us today and tomorrow. Say that aloud three times every day. Announce and declare that you believe that, even if your mind secretly thinks otherwise. He will not abandon His children any more than I would abandon mine. It’s who He is. Our Father, Abba, Daddy.
We love God by trusting in Him. We don’t let our hearts be filled with fear. We tell that fear to flee because our God is bigger. We cast down imaginations and destroy speculations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
We love God by absorbing His Word as our reality. Let me repeat that. His Word is our reality. His word will not return void, but will accomplish that for which it is sent. Meditate on His Word day and night. Read His Word more than you read the latest COVID-19 reports. (By the way, I am preaching to the choir on this one.) Meditate on the following scriptures day and night. Pray them for yourself and your family, your city, state, country, world.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
3 Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments 5 and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
Now, let’s take the second greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. Those of us who have extra toilet paper, be prepared. God may want us to share it with our neighbors. God may want us to give some of that extra food to those who depend on school lunches for their daily food. God may want us to be generous and share and trust that He is able to multiply our food (and toilet paper), just as Jesus multiplied the fish and the loaves—for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Love your neighbor as yourself. No one wants to get sick. Even if you think you are young and healthy and could fight off the Corona virus like a champ, there are others who can’t. I have a bit of a unique take on this. My husband is a doctor and there is a good chance he will come into contact with COVID-19—as will every other doctor, nurse, and medical assistant—even the receptionist at the doctor’s office. And then he comes home. At what point do we keep our distance and for how long?
I have family members who have Type 1 diabetes. They are in “that group” of those who are more susceptible. My mother is on hospice with advanced pulmonary fibrosis. One of my son’s best friend’s has cystic fibrosis. My mother-in-law is in an assisted living home and she just buried her husband of 58 years. She certainly doesn’t need to deal with a potentially deadly illness on top of the grief. Do you see the domino effect of what could happen if we don’t love others? If we are flippant about the risks, we may be just fine. But we may pass it on to others who will not be just fine. So, maybe think of this time of social distancing as a way to love your neighbor as yourself.
And I can think of many more good things that could come of just a few weeks of pressing the pause button on regular life. Maybe we can rest for a change. Maybe we can get that garage cleaned out, that board game played with our kids, that book read that we have been wanting to make time for. (I have a good suggestion for you on that one! #TapCodeBook) This is actually an opportunity to spend time talking to our teenagers, plan our garden, write in our journal, call that friend we haven’t connected with in a while, read our Bibles more than just the quick morning fix.
So order that take-out food, have those groceries delivered (and don’t forget those locally owned stores and businesses!). Stay home for just a little while. Don’t put the Lord your God to a foolish test, as Jesus said. Embrace this as a unique opportunity to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Trust Him, pray, believe, declare the truth of the scriptures, take the authority over the enemy that is ours in Christ Jesus. Oh yea, and wash your hands!