6 Things the Coronavirus Cannot Cancel
By Jessilyn Lancaster, Managing Editor
The world craves hope in this time of deep confusion. As governments shut down non-essential businesses and ask residents to stay inside their homes, unrest and discontentment can rise in the people. Schools close, churches shut their doors, families retreat inward, disappointed or even devastated as the rapid spread of COVID-19 forces routine life to be canceled.
Yet, the Bible warns of trials and tribulations and teaches believers how we can find peace in the midst of turbulence. Weddings, concerts, vacations, and gatherings beyond immediate family have been cancelled, but the following six things can remain in our lives if we choose to shift our attitudes to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8).
- Gratitude – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV). With the constant updates from news, social media, friends, and family, it’s nearly impossible to not stress about the state of the world. However, worries cannot and will not stop the spread of coronavirus. Instead of living in a state of anxiety, shift to a position of gratitude. Tell the Lord how thankful you are for what He has done, and what He will do. When bad news strikes, thank the Lord for His victory on the Cross and in your life. Put your heart at peace by giving thanks and releasing your burdens to Him.
- Faith – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Christ can eradicate the coronavirus from the world. He can do it supernaturally; He could use medical professionals and groundbreaking medicines; or, He could use a combination of both. As Christians, we must cling to the knowledge that He is good, and we must have faith that He will solve this crisis. Remember, though, the outcome of our faith is rarely what we expect. We must have faith that Christ, in His perfect will and timing, will set the world free of this pandemic. We must have faith that He is in control, and we can rest on our faith that He will shelter us under His wings (Psalm 91).
- Friendship – “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). This quarantine and isolation can feel so lonely, even if families are quarantined together. God created us for community, and though that community may look different than a month ago, technology allows us to digitally connect to fellowship, pray, study the Bible and even just giggle with one another. Don’t force yourself into deeper isolation right now. Log online and watch worship services. Video chat with family. Attend a virtual small group. Text friends your prayer requests. You might be physically alone, but the world is wired to connect you. Use it to your advantage.
- Prayer – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). How much media consumes your day? How often do you get caught up in your own web of thoughts? Instead of distracting yourself with more screens, take some time today to unplug and pray. Step outside, into a closet, away from the noise and tell God what is happening in your life, how you’re feeling, what you need. God is there to listen. He’s there to comfort and correct. Open your heart to what the Lord may be doing during this time.
- Worship – “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6). This one is so easy to do from your home if you simply block off time to praise. Spotify and Pandora both have worship radio stations with new songs and classic hymns. If you have an instrument, gather your family around to sing a favorite song. However, worship doesn’t just have to be musical. If you are able, step outside while following proper social-distancing protocols, and marvel at His creation, thanking Him for the sun, sky, mountains, grass, fresh air, and trees. This is a wonderful time for your whole family to engage meaningfully with the Lord.
- Joy – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). For many families, this pandemic is one of the first trials or tribulations experienced together. It can be stressful for parents or adults to explain to their children what is happening in the world when there are so many unknowns. Many of our choices have been taken away, but not joy. We can choose today to celebrate the love of the Lord. We can rejoice that He is good to us, that He is faithful to fulfill His promises. We can find comfort and rest in His embrace. Our joy is not circumstantial. It is not dependent on the economy or jobs or events. Our joy is found in the Hope that is Jesus Christ, and that will never change.