It’s a virus.
A small infection-causing agent that’s contagious and moves from person to person like the flu or the common cold. A cough by someone next to you or a touch of a contaminated surface and, voila, the virus—as unwelcome as a mother-in-law on a honeymoon—is yours.
It started in China. In a place called Wu’an. But the virus isn’t a “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of animal.
It’s more like an American fast-food restaurant. What started in the states is soon found in the most surprising of places. Think of the Golden Arches in Russia and El Salvador and Poland and you’ve got the idea.
This virus has been exported to country after country faster than a hummingbird darts from feeder to feeder. A global disease rubbing shoulders with a global economy. Coming into nation after nation through airline and cruise ship travel. Who would have thought that the vacation of a lifetime could turn into a nightmare as you suddenly find yourself quarantined in a small, windowless cabin in the deeper recesses of a luxury liner. Some luxury, huh?
It’s called the Coronavirus. And it’s caused a worldwide panic attack.
How bad is the fear?
So bad that Italy has quarantined the entire nation in the fear of a national epidemic of Black Plague proportions.
So bad that Brooklyn’s Chinatown restaurants are becoming ghost town empty.
So bad that the US Stock Market has dropped faster than Wiley Coyote falling off a cliff. After a lengthy Bull Market period, the Bull has quickly morphed into a Bear. Within a couple of days, investors have lost thousands and thousands of dollars. (Like other retired people on fixed incomes, no longer putting pennies in the piggy bank, I’ve watched what I’ve put aside lose several zeroes. )
And it doesn’t seem as though a tourniquet will be tied around the Wall Street artery to stop the economic hemorrhaging anytime soon.
But I’m a Christian. A follower of Jesus. So, how should I respond to the Coronavirus?
1. I should pray
The Bible Book of James tells us that, “the prayers of a righteous person are effective” (James 5:16). I should pray for national leaders and medical scientists. For national leaders, that they will make decisions in the interests of public health and safety and not in the interests of political one-upmanship. For medical scientists, that they will quickly develop a vaccine that will bring the virus to its knees.
And I should pray for those who have been, and are most likely to be, infected by the virus. For the former, that God will use the virus to call unbelievers to himself and to help believers grow closer to him. For those not yet infected, that God would be merciful and keep them from it.
2. I should take normal preventive precautions.
I should do what health care professionals tell me to do by frequently washing my hands and staying home when I’m sick and all the other common-sense things that sabotage an invading virus.
3. Most importantly, I should be governed by respect for Christ not fear of the Coronavirus.
I must be like the famous David M. Lloyd-Jones. The pastor the London’s Westminster Chapel had just begun his Sunday morning worship service pastoral prayer when one of Hitler’s doodlebug bombs landed several hundred yards from the chapel. The building shook like a Las Angeles condo in an earthquake. Debris fell from the ceiling. Lloyd-Jones looked up and instructed those in the two upper levels of the chapel to make their way down to the first level and quietly be seated. When they did, he returned to his prayer. A veteran of WW 1 trench warfare was present that day. He said that he hadn’t seen anything braver on the battlefield than what he saw in Westminster’s pastor that morning. But Lloyd-Jones’s biographer said that Lloyd-Jones was only acting with the calmness and serenity of someone who really believed that his God was in control.
Christian, the One who died for you on the cross now wears a crown. As a reward for his saving career, his Father has made him “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). He governs the universe. Nothing—literally, absolutely, categorically NOTHING!—not even the Coronavirus—happens to his people unless he allows it.
And what he allows to happen to his people he promises to work to their good (Romans 8:28).
How Will You Live?
Will you be salt and light? Will you demonstrate to panic-stricken people the peace that passes all understanding? Will you show those worried sick about the Coronavirus that the Christ to whom you belong drives away your fears?
So, Christian, here are your options:
You can allow fear of the Coronavirus to rule you.
Or you can be ruled by the truth that the One who died for you now governs your life.
Will you live like a person who believes his God is in control?