On March 11 the coronavirus (COVID-19) was classified a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). That same day, the President of the United States outlined several steps attempting to limit the spread of the virus.
The coronavirus is serious and shouldn’t be dismissed, especially by older adults. Those of us who are older have faced other pandemics, but the church stayed on her knees in prayer and we came through it stronger than when we started.
I am certainly not a medical doctor so I will not pretend to be one, nor am I a doomsday person so I will not assume that role either. Here’s what I know. Everyone should practice rigorous hygiene and cleanliness during this time. I encourage California Southern Baptist churches and members to adhere to protocol established by national and world agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the WHO.
Above all else, we need to pray and seek God’s direction for ourselves, our families our churches and our communities.
Let’s not forget the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).”
We do know the virus has demonstrated its most serious effects on the elderly, especially those with underlying medical conditions. If in that category you are encouraged to stay home and away from large crowds where you might contract the virus. If you feel sick or have any symptoms of the virus, please seek medical attention immediately.
Everyone can implement protocols to help protect themselves from this virus such as washing your hands, getting needed rest and not putting yourself in precarious situations that could be dangerous to your health. This is not a time to be cavalier about the virus not affecting you and unknowingly become a carrier.
We know that some cities are limiting the size of meetings in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and those guidelines should be followed. There will probably be other restrictions in the days ahead before we begin to see the virus abate.
These are scary and uncertain times. Rest assured that God knows all about this and has not been taken by surprise. Be strong in prayer and keep your eyes on the Lord. He will see it through to its completion.
Pastors and other church leaders should seek the Lord and follow His direction with confidence regarding your congregation and its activities. However, the practical and medical angles of the coronavirus should not be ignored. LifeWay Christian Resources has made available to churches free training and checklists to help in dealing with coronavirus.
Let us remember that God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don’t understand, when you can’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.
The world is faced with a significant challenge, but in the Lord we are overcomers and this is one of those times to overcome. Let’s be wise in our actions and prayers, but most of all, let’s trust His heart.