Pastor Justin’s Message to EFC
Dear Saints at EFC,
How should we as believers respond to the spreading concern of COVID-19? Literally overnight it has become the topic of every conversation. Schools are closed, sports are cancelled, medical facilities and nursing homes are restricting visitors. My inbox is flooded with emails from organizations and their response to this pandemic. Some churches are cancelling or live-streaming from empty churches. One thing is for sure, hands are so clean now we make the Jews in Jesus’ day look dirty (Mark 7:1-4). Joking aside, the situation presents a host of feelings from fear to anger to anxiety to uncertainty and confusion. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially with the speed at which it’s all moving. Here are some thoughts I have for us Christians.
First, God is in control. This is a chance for our faith to shine. We know God and we see this situation with Him in full view. “Will I get infected? Will the store shelves be restocked? Where am I going to get toilet paper? Is this ‘Corona-pocalypse’?” We may not know, but, we know the One who does – and He cares for us (Mt. 6:25-34). We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and our oil won’t run out (1 Kings 17:14-16). It is when the times are uncertain that the certainty of our Lord becomes clearer. Psalm 91 says,
“He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress my God in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you … from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield. You will not fear the terror of night ….nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.”
Secondly, this is a great chance to show care for people in need. Sickness and scarcity tend to make us focus inward on ourselves. But knowing Jesus is watching over us allows us to watch for others in need. He said to love one another and that this is how the world will know we are his disciples (Jn 13:34-35). John said to show love with action (1 Jn. 3:17-18). Certainly with stores gutted of inventory we may find opportunities to help others – believers and others – who couldn’t get there fast enough. John said,
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him out in the love of God be in him? Dear children let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 Jn. 3:17-18)
Third, this is an open door to witness. People are frightened. If they’re not, they are certainly uncertain. COVID-19 has set the conversation up and all we have to do is “make the most of every opportunity” (Col. 4:5) and “be active in sharing our faith” (Phm 6). You could ask someone, “If you died from COVID-19 do you know for sure you would go to heaven?” Or, “Does all this worry you? Do you want to know how to have peace?”
Now is the time for our faith in Jesus to be infectious. Let your confidence in God shine, keep an eye open for opportunities to help others, and lead people from Coronavirus to Christ.