The coronavirus (COVID-19) has left more than 1,000 dead, and tens of thousands of confirmed cases continue to climb every day. Health officials are fighting diligently to ensure this outbreak does not establish a foothold as new cases sprout across the globe.
I was flying a great deal the last few weeks. Even back in the days of the 2003 SARS Pandemic, I’ve never seen so many people in airports and on planes wearing masks. On one international flight, each attendant donned a mask before beginning in-flight services. It doesn’t take long to figure out why precautions have increased since the rampant coronavirus has already surpassed its 2003 predecessor.
Are we on the verge of another pandemic?
So, what are we dealing with? Should we be afraid? The World Health Organization (WHO) warns us every year that the world is on the brink of another pandemic. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. Over past few years, WHO released the following statements with profound confidence:
The world may be on the brink of another pandemic.
All countries will be affected.
Widespread illness will occur.
Medical supplies will be inadequate.
Large numbers of death will occur.
Economic disruption will be great.
Has the clock run out? Is the current coronavirus the overdue pandemic officials have been warning us about? Only time will tell.
The fight to contain the virus and keep from widespread illness is diligent, but not perfect. The CDC reported a clerical error leading to an infected individual leaving the San Diego airport. A health official screening passengers on the cruise ship Diamond Princess that’s anchored offshore south of Tokyo has also contracted the coronavirus, even after careful precautions.
Biblical hope to Overcome Fear
Only one word can adequately describe the feeling of despair we feel when life spirals out of control—fear. Even those of us who find our hope in Jesus can face overwhelming anxiety, especially when it comes to those things that are out of your control.
The good news is that God offers hope for us when we are afraid. In Scripture Jesus uses the imperative to tell us “Do not be afraid,” but it’s not always easy to take him at his word. If we turn to God’s promises throughout the Bible, it becomes easier to face the future and know God is in control, he cares for his people, and he will not forsake us.
The writer of Hebrews quoted the Psalms by saying, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb. 13:6) It was Jesus who taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11) It was the apostle Paul who wrote, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) And then, the apostle Peter told us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
If the coronavirus continues to spread and become more deadly, it will be easy to lose hope and allow fear to control our lives in the coming weeks and months. Whether this gets better or worse, I encourage you to dig deeper and learn more about how believers can overcome anxiety in an uncertain world. These 10 Biblical Truths For Losing Fear will help you find true rest and hope in Christ and his promises.
A Call to Prayer
I’ve been asking people to pray. For many of you, the coronavirus might feel close to home if you live geographically close to places where infections have been confirmed. Or it may just seem like something that can’t affect you because it’s happening far on the other side of the world. Either way, Christians should pray.
Remember, each number that’s cited in these reports represent a human soul. Pray with me that the tens of thousands of people who have contracted the virus will find adequate medical attention right away. Pray for those in intensive care, fighting for their lives against an unfamiliar illness. And pray that this virus can be contained quickly to reduce the amount of suffering that would most certainly take place if the outbreak becomes firmly established worldwide.
It’s a time for prayer, but I also see this as time for Christians to grow their faith, especially when it seems like things won’t bode well for you in the future. Diseases born are a product of the Fall and cannot be totally cured by human hands. But we can still find hope in the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He is bigger than any pandemic, and he his coming again to make all things new.