Updated: Mar 29, 2020
This week I listened to a podcast featuring advice about COVID19 from a Christian Doctor. Dr Cutillo was speaking about America, but I immediately resonated because Australia is also a wealthy country where we have built a medical system that successfully postpones death. Australia is also a society that has successfully made death non-visible. But with the rapid spread of COVID19 Australians are suddenly having to confront the reality of death and they are either in denial or terrified. But Christians have reason not to be reacting in the same way. If at this time you are struggling as a Christian with the fear of death, pray to God asking him to make real the hope that we have in Jesus Christ because whoever believes in him will live even though they die (John 11:25-26). Ask God to show you just how real his promised resurrection for your body is. But don't stop there, not only will we have a new body, but we will have a new heart that no longer struggles with sin - ask God to show you evidence of the Holy Spirit already defeating sin in your life, and hold onto the hope that comes with seeing the beginnings of resurrection power already at work in you. This week I was also staring exhaustedly out the window. Magpies were snooping around in my garden looking for bugs to eat and it struck me that their lives were not one bit affected by COVID19. Along with the rest of the human world, I was weary from all the cancellations, adjustments and emotional processing that was going on in my life at the moment, but the birds had no idea! I was then reminded of the verse from the bible which so lovingly reminds us, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:26) Christian brothers and sisters, fight your worry by trusting God's sovereignty in this COVID19 situation. We are used to an overabundance in our shops and pantries, but when we don't have overabundance, will you still trust that God will provide enough? I was also mightly encouraged by news from a friend that they were seeing evidence of many seekers turning to online bible studies since the outbreak started. God's grace is at work even in the midst of creation in rebellion. Pray that many would discover faith in this time. In this time when many people are complaining about the inconveniences or shifting into self-preservation mode, will you pray with me that as the body of Christ, Christians would be actively generous and outward-looking? Let us first ask God to do the inward work on our hearts so that we might have both a realistic judgement of the precautions we need to take in this situation, as well as an inner peace through trusting God which allows us to remember others' needs alongside our own. Then let us look for opportunities to serve the needs of others. Loving our neighbour at this time might oddly look like keeping a distance from others, but keeping in touch with an email or phone call. If you're not sick or in a high-risk category, pray for opportunities to help the vulnerable with food, personal protective equipment or childcare. Click here for a printable flyer that you can use to be generous to your neighbours who might be in need. The flyer comes from the article A Practical Way to Love Your (Self-Isolated) Neighbor by The Gospel Coalition.