March 11, 2020
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for praying with us each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. We really appreciate your partnership in prayer.
Just about everyone is on heightened alert these days because of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Currently, Italy has quarantined seventeen million in the areas of Milan and Venice. Officials estimate that one thousand have voluntarily quarantined themselves at home in New York City. Oregon has declared a state of emergency. There have been four thousand confirmed deaths around the world as a result of the coronavirus and Canada has announced its first death, with seventy confirmed cases. These are just a few of the many statistics which will no doubt increase.
What do we do? Maybe some of you live in a city where the virus is a threat. Maybe others of you are in a small town where you feel far from any concern whatsoever. We know a few practical things that are good to do—frequent and thorough hand-washing, keep our hands away from our eyes and mouths, covering our mouth when coughing, looking out for the symptoms (new cough, fever, shortness of breath), and avoiding extensive travel if possible.
As Christians, we have general principles that should guide our behavior all of the time, but in this present worldwide crisis, they are especially needed. Let’s consider three:
First, be aware of the needs of others. This was what characterized the life of Jesus while He was here on earth. He didn’t live to Himself but rather looked out for the needs of others. He kept His eyes open to those around Him who were struggling and desperate. Notice the language of Matthew, “He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother” (Matt.4:18). “And when Jesus entered Peter's house, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever” (Matt.8:14). “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt9:36). These are just a few times that it says, “Jesus saw.” May we too be searching out the needs around us.
Second, be ready to help those in need. Consider the theme verse of Mark’s gospel: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk.10:45). Jesus didn’t just come to observe, but to help those in need. The cross is the ultimate sacrifice that He made for us, but His whole life was filled with helpful service. We may not be able to help the situation created by COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, or northern Italy, but there are people that you can help today. Maybe some are very fearful over the virus and need your comfort and reassurance. Maybe it is a person who is struggling with a financial need and you are able to help. Let’s take the next step from being aware of being helpful.
Third, be faithful to God in all you do. This not only means being engaged in activity that is good and right, but also trusting God as you do it. God sees our actions but He also sees our hearts. Yesterday’s verse from CrossCards Daily Inspiration was, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps.73:26). We cannot control the outcome of the coronavirus, we cannot control the downward direction our world is going, but we can control what, or better, who our hearts are trusting in. Whatever God has called us to do today, may we move forward in full confidence upon Him.
Thanks again for praying.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel