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We are living in scary times. Unless you’ve been under a rock, like Jared Leto, then you know we are in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19, or The Coronavirus, is spreading rapidly throughout the world. There are some estimates that 40-70% of the population will be infected.

This has naturally led to widespread panic. The lines outside of Trader Joe’s grocery stores have been out the door and wrapped around the corner. Shelves have been emptied, except for the things people absolutely refuse to eat, even in the most dire of circumstances (I’m talking about you, cauliflower crust vegan pizza).

In times like this, when it seems as though there is no good news, panic and fear are understandable. While we quarantine and practice social distancing, our time is filled with reading bleak articles and looking to our European brothers and sisters, wondering when will this all pass.

Coronavirus Responses

This leads us to ask: what should the Christian response be in all of this? I am concerned by many of the Christian responses I have seen. They have generally gone in one of two directions.

The first is pretending there is nothing wrong. I have seen too many people go with the old “God is sovereign, we have nothing to fear” party line. While this is true, they have intimated that any Christians who are experiencing worry or panic are living in sin and should be harshly rebuked. The other response has been complete panic. People have been doomsday prepping like we are in one of the Left Behind movies.

While I don’t think that I, or anyone for that matter, can give the blanket Christian response that we should all adhere to, I do believe there is some wisdom we can glean from Scripture.

Cast Your Cares

I think of Peter’s words.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world (1 Pet. 5:6-9).

Give it up: Casting all of our cares on the Father means that we actually have cares, worries, and anxieties to give him. He doesn’t look at us and shame us for having fear. Instead, he invites us to give all those to him and find rest through Jesus (Matt. 11:28-30).

Sober minds: It is easy to watch the news or scroll Twitter and Facebook and have our hearts and minds inundated with fear. To quote Pusha T: “I heard that the devil’s new playground is boredom.” Be mindful of what you are taking in and allowing to inform your emotions. The enemy will absolutely use fear as a way to draw your reliance away from God and to literally anything else (including stockpiles of toilet paper). For the Christian, a sober mind is one that is set on things above (Col. 3:2)

We are not alone: Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Animals run in packs because they understand the safety of the community; so it is for the Christian. We are more connected than we have ever been (part of the reason this virus has been able to spread so quickly). This is a great time to practice connecting with fellow believers digitally via group chats and Facetime. In this digital age, gathering together is going to have to look different for some time but that doesn’t mean it has to stop (Heb. 10:25).

Leverage The Hour

We don’t know how long this virus and its implications are going to last. It could be weeks or months. Christians, however, do not live without hope. Instead, we can live boldly, confident in the One who holds all things together.

Fearlessness is not a lack of wisdom though. If you are in the at-risk population, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems, take the necessary precautions. If you are able-bodied, consider what it would mean to live as a witness in this time.

Knock on the doors of your neighbors and see if they need anything. Send out encouraging words to family and friends. During the Antonine Plague of the 2nd Century, it was the Christians who stuck around, at great risk to themselves, to care for the sick. This sacrificial witness helped fuel the explosive growth of Christianity in the ancient world.

This example of courageous love for neighbor is the example we should seek to emulate. Christians, take a deep breath. Cast all of your cares on the One who has the ability to carry them. Be wise. Love those around you with grace and generosity. Be a light in this dark time.

And wash your hands.