Sounds like some sort of quirky band but the very real presence of COVID-19 aka Coronavirus isn't a sweet-sounding melody to many people's ears and is likely to sound like alarm bells ringing on cue in response to a sniffle or a sneeze in a public place.
But as believers in Christ, what are the do's and don'ts for Christians when it comes to responding to the Coronavirus?
Check some out below:
1. Do not fear!
Living in a state of panic and frantically heading down to your nearest supermarket to empty the shelves of toilet roll and anti-bacterial gel is a sign that fear has overshadowed your faith. It’s not that Christians should throw sense to the wind or ignore advice, but we need to genuinely remain calm in the midst of chaos and exhibit the peace that Christ has given us.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2. Don't rely on a face mask more than the Word of God
Uploads of celebrities wearing face masks, with some of them blinged out because 'fashion', have been rife on social media. Even with medical experts advising that the masks won't necessarily protect anyone from contracting the disease, people still have faith that it will work. Our stance as believers, however, should be one of faith in what God says in His word. Psalm 91, in particular, are powerful faith increasing verses regarding protection. Read the full chapter here.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
3. Don't forget to wash your hands!
Sounds basic, but many are forgetting or not deeming it important to wash hands after sneezing or coughing into them, or after using the bathroom. With the Coronavirus seemingly spreading like a plague of biblical proportions. It could do great help to stop or at least slow down the spread by simply washing our hands. We spotted this meme online - which adds a little humour to the situation. But the advice still stands. Thou shall wash thy hands!
4. Do Pray
A quote from the late Dr. Billy Graham, says: “We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving. We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We are to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient.” Prayer is key in all situations and should be an active part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, knowing that our God is a prayer-answering God. Pray for those affected, pray for those in governments and the decision-makers for our nation.
Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
5. Do Discern and Stay Ready
Perhaps a whole sermon could be preached in this one area, but we are to be watchful while praying. There have been numerous outbreaks from the old testament to the present day, so it may seem like a case of 'the boy who cried wolf' in terms of taking the pandemic seriously. With ebola, foot and mouth disease, mad cow disease, swine flu and bird flu all coming and going - some may be desensitised to take this global battle with the Coronavirus serious. And while we are not to be fearful, we should be discerning of the times that we are in. The Good Book (Bible) tells us of particular world events that will happen in the end times. Many mock and roll eyes at the sound of 'end times' as it feels like it's been the 'end' forever. Nevertheless, the Bible is accurate and has foretold us of wars, rumours of wars, pestilences and a number of things that will occur as a sign of the times. So stay alert, vigilant and ready for Christ's return.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
6. Do Exercise Wisdom
We are people of faith, and wisdom is the principal thing, we ought to exercise it. We have Christ's promise of protection from plagues and evil. But that does not mean be careless and walk into danger zones - especially if Christ has not called you to do so. The Bible even goes further to reassure us that we can drink poison and it by no means harm us. Having said all of this, don't purposely put yourself in harm's way in the name of 'exercising faith'. Wisdom.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
7. Do Go Fishing, the Tide is High
A caption seen online and one we can certainly agree with. Now is a great time to evangelise, because the tide is indeed high as people are in a panic and fearful. We should continue serving our community, and we should continue to share the good news of Jesus with our friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, perhaps even more. A sense of peace and hope for tomorrow is needed and that is where we as believers can slide in with the message of hope. Whether that be by outreach or using technology to digitally share the gospel, hearts are in need and we can deliver hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. So go catch some fish, you fishers of men!
I pray these tips are useful and serve as encouragement while we ride through this Coronavirus season. Keep praying and believing, knowing that Jesus is BIGGER than any disease, and we can rest securely in that fact, in Jesus name, amen.
Words by Dara Olagbami