Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash.
We are facing a major crisis brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The coronavirus is no respecter of persons. Christians are not spared though there have been misleading claims, when someone misused Psalms 91, to assert that angels will protect Christians from such a plague. The earlier clusters of those infected were from two churches. As I write this, news has broken that one pastor from Sarawak has succumbed to this virus.
Love for our neighbour
What should we do in such a worrying time? The last thing we should do is to panic, buying up things which we do not need, or to over-react by avoiding certain people and blaming an ethnic group for the spread of this coronavirus. Panic and overreaction make us lose our sense of clear thinking and cloud our mind from turning to God and trusting in Him.
It should be said that it is not wrong to be concerned for personal as well as familial well-being.
Our irrational reactions might be attributed to our basic instinct which sees humans fighting for survival. It could be a reflection of the paucity of our faith.
It should be said that it is not wrong to be concerned for personal as well as familial well-being. Nevertheless, as Christians we should not be overwhelmed by anxiety or crippled by fear.
The least which we can do is to follow sensible advice of keeping good hygienic practice of washing our hands regularly, properly and thoroughly. We should stay at home if we have signs of fever and cold-like symptoms. It is a good practice of wearing masks if we have a cough.
Such practices show, even in a limited way, our love for our neighbours.
A prayer for the times
In this trying time, instead of being overcome by fear and uncertainty, it might be more edifying for us to look up to God for hope and healing. And if we need to find calm counsel, Paul’s pastoral advice may help:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7)
“Help us to trust in you, Lord. And as you have promised, give us the peace that only you can give.”
Here is a prayer which we can say together:
Dear God, our Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for our well-being. We are troubled by the outbreak of COVID-19 and how it has spread around the world. We pray that you will calm our hearts, keep close to us and protect us from this coronavirus.
As we place ourselves under your care and protection, we also pray that you will watch over the healthcare professionals – the doctors, the nurses, and the cleaners – who are at the frontline providing care to those who are ill. For those who are already stricken by the illness, we plead on their behalf that you will heal them.
Do guide the experts to find the vaccine to stop the spread of this illness. Meantime, help us to trust in you. And as you have promised, give us the peace that only you can give; one that transcends human understanding. So dear Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.