How Should We Respond to COVID-19?
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
Much of the world has been affected by the Corona Virus (also called COVID-19). This virus has spread to many places in a relatively short time period.
In the United States, businesses are closing in various parts of the country. Schools and other events are being suspended. Large segments of the population are going to find themselves either without work or quarantined to one degree or another. Forms of entertainment are suspended at the present and could be for the next few months. In other words, we are all going to have some or a lot of extra time on our hands.
What should we do with it?
As Christians, we should have a unique perspective to the world. We have hope (Romans 5:1-5). We have precious promises to remind us that God is with us no matter what happens. Consider Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Consider also Matthew 28:20: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We also have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. One of the ways that we access His provision is prayer. As Paul wrote “Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17; see also Romans 8:26). We can pray anywhere – and it is a vital tool to help us and others focus during a time that seems uncertain. There’s so much we cannot control around us – but we can control our response. We know the God who is more than able to part Red Seas and even abate plagues.
In this article, I want to walk you through a prayer strategy to help you and others.
1) Examine yourself – 2 Corinthians 13:5. Take time to look at your own relationship with God. Is it where it needs to be? Where have you fallen short? Have you allowed the various closed activities, such as work, entertainment, or schooling, to come between you and God? Are you studying to show yourself approved? (2 Tim. 2:15). What does your prayer life look like? Have you become negligent of your brothers and sisters in Christ? Have you become lukewarm in your commandment keeping? (Rev. 3:15-22) Has God called you to do something and you have ignored it or allowed busy-ness to occupy your time? (Matt. 25:14-30)
In a world with so much finger pointing, we need to look at ourselves first and foremost.
2) Ask God for forgiveness and repent – In whatever realm we have fallen short, each of us (including myself) needs to ask God to forgive us and then repent. Repent means to change your mind in such a way that it changes your lifestyle. Whatever you asked God to forgive you for, be prepared to take action. If you haven’t been honest with people, then make the commitment to change and be honest. If you have neglected the study of God’s word, then take the time to do so. If you haven’t really prayed/sought God’s will for your life, then do it. Get serious about your calling and election. If you need to talk to a brother or sister in Christ, then give them a call. We have the time to do it.
(There are some life changes you need to make that you will have to wait until after this virus passes over to carry out. If that’s the case, pray for a strategy and courage to do so when the opportunity makes itself known.)
3) Ask God to forgive the sins of our nation – Once we have examined ourselves, we need to take a long hard look at the sins of our country. Over 60 million babies have been aborted and marriage/sexuality has been perverted. We have made idols of our entertainment; we trust too much in our prosperity. The commandments of God are transgressed with wild abandon. You may find other things, but those are the obvious ones I am praying about. We need to ask God to forgive our nation and cause the nation to repent.
During this crisis, pray that God will cause everyone to see their own sins and short comings. Ask God to reveal to everyone in our country that our prosperity could be gone in a heartbeat (as it has been reduced very quickly) and that we should look to Him as our source instead of our stuff. Since we will all be doing at a lot less, I believe it may be easier for God to get people’s attention (Be still and know). Ask God to heal our land.
4) Pray for our leaders – I can’t imagine the logistical obstacles that leaders in government are overcoming to adjust to this situation. The virus is newer, so we don’t have prior experience with its symptoms/after effects. Let’s pray for our leaders to make sound, wise decisions.
5) Pray for people affected by the virus – God is the healer; one of the reasons Christ came was to bring us healing through His stripes. Ask God to supernaturally intervene to heal those who are affected by the virus.
6) Pray for healthcare and other essential workers – Some people will have to go to work no matter what happens. Healthcare workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, electrical workers, etc. Pray for those who are in essential fields to be protected from this virus and have confidence to continue their necessary job.
7) Pray for necessities to continue uninterrupted – Pray for the factories and industries that make necessities (such as food, etc.) to continue uninterrupted and the workers that deliver them (truck drivers) to be unimpeded.
8) Pray for those who are quarantined – Some people will voluntarily stay inside while others will be forced to do so. Some people don’t do well in closed environments. Pray for the God of hope to help them cope with the situation. He is the God of all comfort.
9) Pray for those who are unemployed – A lot of people are becoming unemployed. Ask for God to give them supernatural provision in this time and favor. Ask for God to do it in a way where they will recognize it is His hand at work.
10) Pray for people to remain calm and helpful – Humans tend to fear uncertainty; this can lead to selfishness. Pray for people to remain calm and level-headed during this time. Remind yourself and others of the verse: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Lastly, pray for us all to learn something from this whole ordeal. While none of us chose for these events to happen, our God uses events like this to teach us and guide us. Be keenly aware of what lessons you might learn in this season. If you are worried or concerned, ask God to increase your faith and give your strength in this time. Go through encouraging verses in the Bible, such as many of the Psalms, that will help you cope with the situation.
Too often we treat prayer as our last option. Let’s make it our priority and what our God work in us and in the world around us.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
BSA President – www.biblesabbath.org