I was standing in the hallway of GHS children’s hospital Emergency Room scarfing down Chipotle and updating my pastor on Luke’s sudden health crisis when the doctor delivered the news.
Your son has a massive tumor in the 3rd ventricle, sitting on top of and intertwined in the hypothalamus.
My pastor would later retell the next few moments to look like this:
I nodded, swallowed a bite and said, “ok, what is the suggested course of action.” From there we sprung into go-mode, signed papers, made decisions, scheduled surgery and all of the necessary things.
I never flinched. Never shed a tear. I never had to sit down because my legs were weak. I even finished that lunch (because after all it was around 3 pm and I KNEW food was needed to keep me strong enough to make decisions.)
People made a lot of accusations about my “emotionless” response to such tragic news. But honestly, none of them were true.
It wasn’t that I thought it was happy to get the news that my son had a huge tumor in his brain. It also wasn’t that I was ignorant of the reality of the situation. (We had lost a dear friend just months prior to the same cancer.)
The reason I didn’t panic was that I had something more important to do.
What I knew in that moment was that we were in the fight of our lives. I had to be able to think and make intelligent decisions because my 6-year-old boy depended on me to do that. And because he was watching.
I knew that this fight probably wouldn’t end for him this side of heaven. He will fight this tumor again and again. If he outlives it, he will fight subsequent issues from years of aggressive fighting.
If he was going to stand a chance, I had to help him understand how to rightly face life when the worst of situations haunts.
I share this story with you today because I’m burdened by the influx of panic, uncertainty, and fear I see all over social media in light of the Coronavirus. I want to humbly address what Christians should and should NOT be doing right now.
Let me start by saying that this isn’t an article that will tell you to live your life and not think about it. Nor is it an article that will encourage you to buy 1500 rolls of toilet paper and barricade your front door for the next year.
This article is all about what you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T do in light of the crisis so your family can remain stable and #NOTCONSUMED by it.
What Christians shouldn’t do in times of crisis
Christians should NOT worry
My friend, worry is a waste of precious time and emotion. But more importantly, worry is the practice of MEDITATING on lies! It’s completely unacceptable in the Christian’s life. (More on why below.)
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Luke 12:25-26.
Christians should NOT fear
There’s a reason the Bible has over 365 admonitions to “not fear.” 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that God has something better for us. Or to say it the other way around… fear is the ABSENCE of power, love, and self-control in our lives. Think about that!
Of course, let me concede, this command isn’t an easy one for us to obey. Fear comes naturally and it can be very hard to suppress. If you are struggling right now with this, please keep reading for the tips below because virus or no virus, God is still in control and we have NOTHING to fear.
Christians should NOT rely on their own strength and knowledge
The reason the first two “don’ts” I shared are so hard is that we often try to do them in our own strength. Left to ourselves, we are filled with fear and worry. Without Christ, we can’t truly push past that. In times like these, we desperately need to rely on Him for strength.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
We also need to rely on Christ for knowledge. If you haven’t noticed, there is an influx of information out there. I honestly don’t think anyone has an accurate picture of the whole truth aside from God. We need to be careful not to be wise in our own eyes on this one.
Christians should NOT hoard anything
If you don’t react out of anxiety and fear, it’s likely this one won’t be an issue. But again, let me say that we don’t put our trust in 1500 rolls of toilet paper.
There isn’t enough toilet paper in the world to keep you from getting the Coronavirus. Seriously, I know people aren’t buying it for that purpose, but in a way, we are acting like it. Get what you need. Be smart. And remember that other people also have needs. A Christian can NEVER take the stance of “every man for himself.”
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17
What Christians should do in times of crisis
Christians should get on their knees & pray
We need to be in fervent prayer right now. If nothing else, for the sake of our hearts. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us that we are not to be anxious about anything, but to present it to God in prayer. By doing so, we can live in peace. If we choose not to, we will be consumed with the fear and worry that surrounds us in this world.
Here are just a few things we can pray for right now.
- for your own strength/peace
- for health in your family
- health for neighbors, friends, community
- health for first responders- especially medical care
- government leaders
- businesses and travelers affected by cancelations
- revival in our country
- opportunities to witness
Make a list of these things and hang them on the fridge or put them at the dinner table. You can take turns praying for different things or all run down the list in your own way.
Prayer is our protection against fear and anxiety. Do it often!
Christians should meditate on the character of God
If you find it difficult to trust God, it’s most likely because you don’t KNOW who He really is. I hate that reality in my own life as there have been many times where trust was difficult. But the truth remains. When we don’t trust God it’s really because we can’t see how trustworthy He is and how good He is.
Here are a few things we need to remember:
- GOD (alone) is your refuge, strength, and help in times of trouble. The absence of difficult things will not protect you. Only God does that. Psalm 46:1-3
- God is not surprised by the Coronavirus, so don’t act like he doesn’t have it under HIS control. Psalm 139
- God is ONLY and ALWAYS good. Romans 8:28-32
- God is fully sovereign. He has all knowledge and authority over both natural and supernatural forces of this world. Hebrews 2:8, Isaiah 46:10
- Death has NO sting and heaven is a wonderful place. As Christians, we need to be careful that we don’t fear death. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should want to die, nor does it mean we won’t miss our loved ones. But death is the best thing that can happen to us and we need to remember that truth. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
- God has called you by name and you will NOT be consumed by this or any other pandemic in your life! Isaiah 43:1-2
Make a list of God’s promises. Recount the ways He has been faithful and celebrate His goodness as a family! You may have a little extra time together to do this. Don’t rehash all the hard stuff over and over again. Instead, focus on these truths!
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you, when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2
Christians should act like Christians
Aside from the things I’ve already mentioned, now is not the time to abandon the walk that Christ has called us to. Share the toilet paper. Help your neighbors. Love, serve, and BE KIND!
Don’t look for false info or pick fights on social media. Don’t stand around meditating on all of the horrific things that may very well happen as a result of this virus.
Spread hope, light, and the gospel. Do it through your words and live it in your actions.
Christians should react responsibly
Of course, the first part of reacting responsibility is knowing the FACTS. Get off of social media and read trusted information that presents actual facts. Don’t harp on single sensational stories.
We are smart to take action for protection. That doesn’t mean we aren’t relying on divine protection. It doesn’t mean we don’t trust God. It simply means we are using the intelligence He gave us.
So, stay home when you need to, wash your hands, GET REST, get lots of sunshine, and take those vitamins. Hopefully, you’re already doing those things. If not, it’s time to make that an all-the-time kinda habit!
As responsible Christians, this also includes obeying the government. If something is shut down, we have a responsibility to respect that authority. We don’t have to agree with it or like it, but we need to do it. People are watching how Christians react. Be the light.
Christians should look for the joy in this
In every situation, we are called to be content. We are called to have joy and thanksgiving for whatever we face. Now, more than ever, we need to model this for our families.
Maximize the extra time you get with your kids! If school is canceled, this is a precious gift to your family. If activities are canceled, this is also a precious gift of time for your family. I’ve posted a short list of ideas below. Follow me on social media and email where we will continue to share even more!
Christians should join together in supporting others
The thought of being in your house with no activities for the next month is one that has many parents panicking. I’ve seen many jokes about how they wished they had stocked up on Vodka instead of toilet paper.
My friend, that’s the fear talking once again. Don’t let it win. God gave you these kids and you can do this. But you don’t have to do it alone!
Stay connected to friends and family via Facetime and Skype. Connect with like-minded communities for ideas and support. If you don’t have one you love, I’d be honored if you’d join ours!
Use this time to build family relationships, grow in faith together, and truly understand the joy that we have in Christ.
A few things you can do with your extra family time:
- Enjoy these family fun night ideas you can do anytime.
- Serve others (without even contacting them) through random acts of kindness.
- Find some new family bonding activities.
- And if you are looking for educational things to do with your kids, here’s a free homeschool booklist for every age level full of encouraging Christ-centered reads.
- Memorize Scripture! Isaiah 43 is a great passage to consider.
- Dig into the Word together. Why not use this time to work on heart issues by studying God’s Word? Find kids’ Bible studies here.