“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
As Christians, we move in faith, not fear. We trust in and serve a God who is able to work all things, even bad things, for our good. But how do we live that out? How do we act prudently in a time when so many rush to panic or to willful ignorance? Neither extreme is right for us.
Here are some thoughts for us during these challenging times:
1. Trust God.
In the midst of uncertainty, we trust God. He is sovereign over human history and over our lives. He is the Lord, “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). And he is loving and merciful. Psalm 100:5 assures us, “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
We witness to our Christian faith when we resist panic, knowing that our times are in the Lord’s hand (Psalm 31:15). No one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29). And so, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Pray for those affected, and for their loved ones and caregivers. Pray for those making decisions impacting us. Pray for wisdom. Pray for peace. Here are some psalms that may be helpful to pray—read them and make them into your own prayers. That is what the psalms are for!
Trust in God: 27, 31, 57, 146, 62, 63, 71, 73, 77, 91, 118, 121, 124, 125 123, 143
God our Refuge: 4, 20, 17, 37, 46, 49, 54, 61, 71, 91, 103, 121, 146
Psalm 27 is one of my personal favorites.
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
Just meditate on that—even ask God for help in believing it!
If you would like prayer or otherwise need help, please don’t hesitate to call, text or email the church or Pastor Chris or me.
2. Be informed.
There is much on the internet this is unhelpful or misleading. Focus on information from trusted, informed sources. The CDC website provides a wealth of information. Here is their latest update. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html This page has information for people at higher risk (older adults and those with serious chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease. https://www.cdc.gov/…/specific…/high-risk-complications.html
You may wish to subscribe to the CDC’s COVID-19 newsletter to get regular updates. Go to their newsletter subscription page and choose the newsletter entitled, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
Our Utah Health Department also has good information. https://coronavirus.utah.gov/latest-information
This Sunday Dr Vic MacIntosh will share about how to protect ourselves and respond to this challenging situation. We will be sharing that talk on line.
3. Be prudent.
Wash your hands! Wash them frequently and thoroughly, for a minimum of 20 seconds using soap and warm water. Praying the Lord’s Prayer takes about 20 seconds, so try that! There is no substitute for good handwashing.
For cleaning surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops, etc., the CDC recommends using bleach (1 part bleach to 100 parts water). We use an even stronger bleach solution in cleaning at the church.
If you have symptoms of a cough, disease, or a fever within the last 24 hours, please stay at home.
If you are returning from known areas of higher prevalence of COVID-19, we encourage you NOT to attend church for two weeks. The list of affected areas and the period of self-quarantine will likely change in the weeks ahead.
4. Act in love.
Reach out to your neighbors, particularly the elderly and those who are vulnerable or alone. If you have a neighbor who can’t go out right now, maybe you can help drop off groceries to them. If you can’t go out right now, you have your church family to help—call a deacon or a pastor or a friend and we will get you help. Christians have always been the ones who rush in to help when others run away. We do not have to be swept up in panic because we have the Rock. Prayerfully consider ways you can be reach out to your neighbors and check in on your co-workers. We are all carrying apprehension and uncertainty, this is a great opportunity to connect with them. This is an opportunity for us to care for our neighbors.
As we worship together online only for the next few weeks, we will be taking special steps to reach out to one another and make sure that everyone is connected to the Body. If you would like to make calls, please let the church office know.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, our strong tower of defense in time of trouble: We offer you praise and heartfelt thanks for our deliverance from the dangers which lately surrounded us and for your gracious gift of peace. We confess that your goodness alone has preserved us; and we ask you still to continue your mercies toward us, that we may always know and acknowledge you as our Savior and mighty Deliverer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Grace and Peace to you this week!