You’ve got to be kidding me. Right when COVID-19 seemed to be slowing down, and restaurants, businesses and church buildings started to re-open, boom, our nation experiences a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Today’s headline for one news syndicate reads, “U.S. sees 250,000 confirmed new virus cases in first five days of July.” Another one says, “America is still `knee-deep’ in the pandemic’s first wave, Dr. Fauci warns.” Yet another reports, “Hospitalizations are growing in nearly two dozen U.S. states.”
In addition to the numbers, we have the multitudinous extrapolations of self-proclaimed experts on both sides of the political aisle. “The virus is a government hoax to abolish our rights, including our right to worship.” “The virus is a serious threat that should precipitate a national lockdown that should only be reversed when a vaccination is discovered.” I even heard of one church in Texas that has one section in their auditorium for “masked-seating,” and one section for “unmasked-seating.”
These uncertain times lead many to either a state of denial or a state of fear. Neither is the right path forward. Jesus said we should be wise as serpents, innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Ninety-eight times the Bible says we are not to worry, be anxious or afraid. We do not have to fear, because we know that God is “over all, through all, and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). We fear not, because God is with us. “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
We listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14). We submit ourselves to governing authorities (Romans 13:1). We stand up for the oppressed and marginalized (James 1:27). And we step out in faith to serve others in the name of Jesus (Acts 21:12-14).
Back in 1527, a deadly plague hit Martin Luther’s town of Wittenberg, and he wrote a letter to a friend, explaining how churches should deal with such complicated circumstances.
I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me, and I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith, because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.
May we, too, have an unswerving conviction to live by faith, not by sight, in the wise counsel of others, for the advancement of the mission of Christ.