Australia was on fire, people thought WWIII was ensuing, coronavirus is rapidly spreading, and overall in 2020 the world has constantly been surrounded by turmoil and tragedy. However, despite all the panic and uncertainty facing us, at times we need to pause and ask for joy and hope. Sometimes we even need a good laugh to calm down from all the seriousness.
At times like these it is vital that we look at what God advises and says in His word. In doing so, we can be encouraged by verses like Ecclesiastes 3:4 (“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”) and Romans 12:12 (“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”) (ESV). God will not leave us during these trials, and though this may be a time to weep or mourn, times will come to laugh and dance as well. Instead of giving into panic, we must stay calm and as Paul says “be constant in prayer.” Though numerous people begin to lose hope in these kinds of situations, God will not leave the world in a place of utter hopelessness because he has given us an enduring hope in Christ.
Even in Job’s life when he was faced with unspeakable trials, he remained in God and hoped in him. He still suffered and felt the pain of tragedy, but he walked with God through it all. The world will go on to suffer and face major losses, but as Christians we can encourage those around us that God is with us in the midst of the suffering.
Furthermore, we can learn a lot by looking back at what the Church did during times of a pandemic in the past. When the plague was the source of pandemic in the mid-1300s and people were in constant fear, Christians became the light in the darkness. They cared for both Christians and non-Christians, and held other people’s lives above their own. As the plague spread throughout Europe, Martin Luther wrote this in relation to whether or not Christians should flee: “We die at our posts. Christian doctors cannot abandon their hospitals, Christian governors cannot flee their districts, Christian pastors cannot abandon their congregations. The plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die” (Stone).
Luther was not encouraging blind faith just to help the sick. Instead, he pointed out that we both live and die as Christians. We definitely need to practice wisdom, but we should also practice compassion.
In these next few weeks, look for ways to help those around you who may be panicking about the virus. Pray with your friends and encourage your non-believing friends. Life is such a precious gift — let us try to live it to the best of our ability by living humbly and serving others.
During these times, I pray this verse helps each and every one of you as you strive to put your hope and faith in Christ: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13 ESV).
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