At the time of writing this article, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are nowhere to be found. Flour and sugar are quickly disappearing from shelves. There are over 179,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, resulting in over 7,000 deaths. No vaccine is yet publicly available. In Pennsylvania, testing kits are in limited supply and schools are closed.
Whether current measures to contain the disease’s spread are an overreaction only time will tell. However, given what we know about what we don’t know, this may be the best way to protect those most vulnerable.
As Christians, this is not a time to fear. This is a time for faith. We believe in a God who came to earth, not wearing examination gloves, a surgical mask, or a protective gown. He came to the same earth where COVID-19 and countless other diseases have existed throughout history. He breathed the air we breathe and ate the food we eat. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and touched those thought highly contagious, cleansing them instead of being infected by them. His mighty acts demonstrated not only his compassion but also his real authority.
Through his mighty acts, Jesus demonstrated his authority to conquer a far greater foe than COVID-19. Jesus once said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Matthew 10:28).” We could say today, “Do not be afraid of COVID-19 that can kill your body but cannot kill your soul.” Like COVID-19, sin is not a respecter of national borders or ethnicities. Unlike COVID-19, sin infects all of us and will not only kill your body but also your soul. When Jesus died on the cross, he absorbed the sin of those who trust in him, dying the death to sin that was theirs to die. Because of his death, sin cannot kill the soul of those who trust in him.
Christ’s hope gives us faith instead of fear at a time like this. This faith gives us the capacity to respond in ways that are God glorifying instead of self-seeking. We can leave that extra package of toilet paper on the shelf for our neighbor, if we do not need it. Though we may physically distance ourselves, we can reach out by phone, internet, and every means possible to let people know that we are thinking about them. We can remind each other frequently about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. We can respond with neighbor-love, instead of self-seeking behavior, because nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even death itself (Romans 8:38-39).