April 08, 2020 Brett Stowe

How Should I Respond to a Global Pandemic?

How Should I Respond to a Global Pandemic?

I remember a conversation that I had a few months ago about "some virus" that was going around China. At that time, it was barely even a thought. Four months later, it’s a global pandemic. Much uncertainty and confusion exists in the minds and hearts of everyone around us. Many here in South Africa are not sure how they will provide for their families today, tomorrow, or next week. Many, at this point, have no idea what their future holds regarding their job or employment. 

Over the past month, there have been many who have written solid, biblically doctrinal perspectives on how to deal with this current situation (or at least how to think about it). This post is not meant to be one of those, although I hope it is grounded in doctrine! This post is meant to provide a few practical responses that we should have, as believers in Christ, to our current situation.

Don't try to discern God's purpose for this pandemic.

One of the greatest dangers in any trial, tragedy, or hardship is spending time trying to discern God’s purpose for the trial. We must remember that God’s ways are far higher than our ways (Isa. 55:8-9). He does not owe us an explanation. Even if God did reveal His ways to us, we would still respond with pride and selfishness, because our problem is not found in our circumstances; it is within our hearts (Jer. 17:9). So although it hurts, use this current trial to learn to trust God resting in His goodness and sovereignty. Job would be an excellent book of the Bible to study right now!

Be reminded of the brevity of life.

James 4:14 states, “…What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (ESV).” The King James Version uses the word “vapor” in this verse. Both of these provide excellent imagery into the substance of our lives on this earth. We tend to think we are invincible (until we are not). We go through life doing the next thing without ever stopping to meditate on the brevity of our lives. We are finite, needy creatures. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we, as human beings, do not call the shots. God is in control of all, and we control nothing. Our time on earth can be taken from us in an instant. Our lives are truly “a vapor.” 

Entrust yourself to Jesus Christ.

The fact that our lives are short and God is sovereign over all should not cause us to worry. If we know the beginning of the story then we realize that man sinned against God. All that man is worthy of is death and judgment. This means that life is a gracious blessing of God. We are not entitled to life. We are entitled to God’s wrath in hell for our sin. But, God provided a substitute for sinful rebels. He gave His Son, Jesus, so that we could be restored in a right relationship with God. Therefore, do not worry about a virus. Do not fear the brevity of your life. For those who know Jesus, this life is but a stepping stone to eternity with God, in His kingdom, forever! So, rest in Him.

Look for Gospel opportunities.

At this time, many are scared and afraid. This is reasonable. To some level, everyone has been affected by the recent trial. But while many are afraid, they do not know what to do with this fear. They will run to alcohol, drugs, food, entertainment, friends, relationships, pornography, etc. We, as believers, have the only answer to fear and hope of satisfaction and comfort. This answer is Christ. Hope is only found in the Gospel. So we must declare it. Let us keep our eyes open for opportunities to share this Gospel.

Serve where you can.

This one may seem difficult right now. In fact, I don’t even have specifics to give, but let us be looking for ways in which we can serve and bless others. There are numerous needs during this time. Some may need food. Some may need medical care. Some may simply need a WhatsApp message. May we serve others, especially those of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10).

Honor the authorities God has given you.

We may not agree with everything our government does or says, but we are called to submit to them. Unless government is restricting clear biblical commands, we are to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s (Matt. 22:21).” Will there be a point where government infringes on biblical commands? Potentially! But that is not now. May we encourage, pray for, and cheer on those who have been ordained by God to watch out for our care and protection. Read Romans 13:1-7 and meditate on what it means to honor our authorities during this time. 

Don't waste it! 

If we are not intentional, something will take our time. Whether it be kids, games, social media, Netflix, or something else. Our default is to waste time. If we can move past the fear, worry, and anxiety of this current situation, we can begin to see great opportunities. If you have ever had an excuse to stay home and work, it is now! So ask yourself, “How can I use this time to work on my prayer life? How can I take that class I have been wanting to take? Could I use this time to read those books that have been on my shelf for years? How can our family take time to simply enjoy each other?” Many opportunities can be found amidst a global pandemic. Don’t let your worry and fear cause you to miss these opportunities. 

Many more encouragements and challenges could be given, but I hope and pray that these will at least encourage us to lift our heads and gaze on Christ while we work mightily with our hands (even at home) for His kingdom as we await His return!