2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
First of all, don’t panic! This pandemic hasn’t somehow caught God off guard.
We shouldn’t be living in a spirit of fear but in power, love and sound judgement! Fear creates unrealistic conspiracy theories. Power helps us know that God is our healer and no matter what, we are going to get through this! Love doesn’t make fun or light of something that has already killed thousands, or someone who is at high risk taking precautions. So how can we BE the body of Christ with love, power and sound judgement.
Sound judgement doesn’t ignore the reality of what’s happening.
Living in fear and the ability to do math are not the same thing. This thing may be overblown, out of proportion – but the fact is… there are many things we don’t know. Here are some things we do know. This isn’t the flu. Yes there are many more cases of flu, but we have systems in place to deal with that volume of sickness. The problem in China and Italy is not just the number of deaths, but the rapid spread that quickly overloaded their health care systems. The only thing that slowed down the spread and allowed the health care load to recover? Drastic measures to limit social contact.
So what’s wiser? Waiting until our systems are overloaded and then try to stop the spread? Or to take prudent action when the first signs appear. Here’s some math we do know. The death rate of those over 80 years old infected is at 14 to 18%. Flu is .83% for 65+ — less than 1%. Even if the numbers are skewed because we don’t know how many are infected, we do know that many, many more older people are dying of this than flu.
So what 80 year old are you willing to risk more than a 10% chance of death? How about 9.8% for 70-79? 4.6% for 60+…
Being cautious and listening to health professionals and scientists isn’t fear – it’s prudence. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to cancel services here locally. But if that changes, we will make a decision in faith and gratefulness that God gives us wisdom when we ask for it. I’m not going to be swayed by those who think that decision might be over the top. There are some precious people in those high risk categories I’m not going to gamble with. Period.
If church is dependent on meeting at certain time and place once a week, that’s not church, that’s an event. If and when our regular schedule is interrupted, we will figure out ways to still BE the church and remain in fellowship and community – and still do outreach.
Until then, we pray and believe for the best. How can we help those who are already being impacted by this? If you are sick or at high risk, please stay home and let us know how we can help! For the rest of us, we will be cautious, wise and not careless.
Let’s let the world know us by our actions in love, not our reactions in fear or ignorance!
Here are a few things we can do, right now!
- Read the Bible more than the news or social media. Let’s not let what seems urgent but is temporary distract us from what is most important and eternal.
- Pray for an end to this! We have access to something stronger than Lysol! Prayer changes things!
- Remain positive! It’s disappointing to see things cancel. It’s natural to worry about family and friends – even yourself. But remember, God’s in control and He’s working all things together for good. Speak and think life!
- Remain connected! Even if in person, social contact is limited, we have all kinds of technology to stay in touch and check on each other. Who can you reach out to and encourage, #today!
The gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church and neither will this virus!