COVID-19 has virtually changed the world in a matter of weeks. What seemed to be a “non-issue” virus has transformed into something that is changing the daily lives of virtually everyone in the world. As a result fear, panic, and uncertainty has set in. Grocery stores all over are ransacked. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and soap have all become top commodities. Worry and anxiety plague the populace as gathering sizes decrease and social distancing increases. It is not too brash to say that this is unlike anything most of us (if not all of us) have ever faced.
Despite all of what was mentioned above, I believe we have great reason to have hope and expectancy in this current moment we find ourselves in. Fear, panic, and uncertainty act as a veil over our eyes, but if we can get past that veil I believe we can see that the atmosphere is actually charged with hope and opportunity. It is of my opinion that God has positioned His people for an incredible opportunity if we will take it.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment..”– 2 Timothy 1:7
The Holy Spirit that lives in us, who empowers us, who leads us into truth, who brings life to dry bones, who convicts the world of sin, this Holy Spirit is not a spirit of fear or panic. The Holy Spirit gives the power to trust in a time of uncertainty. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to love beyond ourselves to the betterment of others, not just the self-preservation of my own life. The Holy Spirit gives us a sound judgement or a sound mind. A mind that can thinking in sober fashion about the world at this time. I believe that if we will commit ourselves to the way of Jesus during this time, we can God move in and through us in ways that we wouldn’t believe.
What if God has used COVID-19 to show the frailty of the things we hold in high regard? What if God is showing the weakness of the structures we put our trust and hope in? What if God is eliminating the things that could distract us in order that we will turn to Him? Perhaps God is slowly tearing down our lesser idols. What if God is trying to show us that He truly is our only hope?
One thing COVID-19 has proven is we can’t control anything. Perhaps that is the thing that keeps us up at night and drives our anxiety sky high. We worry when we aren’t able to dictate the outcomes. We grasp for things to fulfill and protect us when we don’t think we have what we need to survive. But in words of Skye Jethani:
It may be our Lord’s way of opening our eyes, revealing our pride, and discovering the truth that we do not have control. We never did and we never will. It may be God’s way of softening our hardened hearts so that we will turn to him and act with kindness toward one another.Skye Jethani (With God Daily Devotional)
As I said before, the people of God have an incredible opportunity to show the world around us the “living hope” 1 Peter 1:3-5 speaks about. A hope that go far beyond this world. A hope that is rooted in the eternal Kingdom of the One, True God. The apostle Paul spoke words of comfort to the church of Thessalonica who were mourning the death of their loved ones by telling them that we don’t grieve like those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The same is true for us facing this pandemic: We don’t face pandemic like those who have no hope. Even if we were to lose our lives the promise of this living hope is the secure. Nothing can stop it.
So that frees us up to obey Jesus’ command to love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40). Additionally, because Jesus tells us that God will provide all that we need when we put first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33), that means we can turn our attention to the needs of others around us. We can meet the needs of those around us, showing the love of Christ to our neighbor. That doesn’t mean we don’t use wisdom. Of course we wash our hands. We should take seriously the suggestions from the health professionals. Part of loving our neighbor is loving them enough to not spread the disease. But we can live in wisdom without living in worry.
During this time I believe people will be open in ways that they were not before COVID-19. Let’s be the light of the world. Let’s be that city on a hill. As all the of the world’s hope and securities crumble, let’s be a people that show a better hope. A better security. A true salvation. Let’s show them Jesus Christ, our living hope.