It is now mid-May. Although our country is still dealing with a crisis surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic and the resulting shutdown of our country, what observations can be made as we look back over the past several weeks? How ought the church to respond in this type of a situation, and what about individual Christians?
First, I believe that churches ought to cooperate, as much as possible, with government directives and orders. Government officials have been put in place by God and Christians are instructed to, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man." It is part of the testimony we ought to have to the world. It isn't fun or easy to be unable to meet together in church, but consider Peter's instruction in I Peter 2. We are taught to follow Christ's example who endured unjust suffering and committed Himself to His heavenly Father's care.
Sometimes, there are exceptions to this rule. Peter also stated in Acts 5, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Such exceptions, thankfully, are rare in a country founded on principles of freedom and liberty. However, there are instances where some government officials are oppressing religion, and these churches need our prayers.
What about the response of the individual Christian? I believe our response ought to be one of purpose and not of panic. God does not want His children to be afraid. Over and over again, the Scriptures tell us, "Fear not," and, "Be not afraid." We must realize our responsibilities during a time such as this, but also realize that the circumstances we face are ultimately in the hands of God. We need to trust that whatever happens in our personal lives is under His care. Be a light that shines brightly during a dark time.
Christians should also be in prayer. Pray for health workers who are at risk helping those who have been infected. Pray for government leaders to make wise and right decisions. For the many people who have suffered economically and are getting back to work to support their families. And pray for the many around the world who have not just been inconvenienced by a lock-down, but who are truly suffering.
I hope that as our country opens up again, you will find yourself grateful and a bit wiser for this experience. May God help us throughout the remainder of our year to keep our eyes on Him, and influence the world around us for Christ.
Pastor Ben Newman