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In Times Like These: Reflections on the COVID-19 Pandemic

In Times Like These: Reflections on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Greetings with Jesus’ joy!

With the arrival of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the world stage, more than 130 countries have been caught in a public health crisis of yet unknown devastation. Today, in the United States, along with other countries, “ordinary” life as we have known it, is no more. We now daily face a deadly virus, one stealthily transmitted by a person unaware of her or his infection. Suddenly, “social distancing” demands that we restrict human interaction – no handshakes, no high five’s, no hugs, no crowds.

The demand for tests and testing and the widespread closing of schools, universities and businesses, along with cancellations of social, political and religious events, all point to a severely crippled America. We see anxious shoppers entangled in chaotic scrambling for water, food, and yes, toilet paper! Just thinking of the long-term impact on the economy boggles the mind. A vaccine, scientists report, could be as far away as twelve to eighteen months.

In Washington, D.C., the rapid spread of COVID-19 compelled a historically contentious Congress to pass an unprecedented bipartisan funding bill. These funds will underwrite the costs of urgently needed resources – many associated with job loss, childcare, medical leave, emergency equipment, and nutritional needs. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic has the power to affect us all in ways more drastic and more frightening than anyone could have predicted.

People of faith, however, can access a greater power – the power of God. In times of great stress, people of faith need not be overwhelmed. Crisis may reign but God is strong and unmovable. Each of us can declare with the confidence of the psalmist: God is my refuge and my fortress… my God, in whom I trust (Psalm 91:2). Our attitude toward this “new normal” should not be hopelessness and despair.

As people of faith, we can pray that COVID-19 will peak, decline, and descend into nonexistence. Surviving this outbreak will take more than medical expertise and modified behavior; it will require the steadfast faith of God’s people, drawing strength from both “In God We Trust” and “E pluribus unum.” This is not a time to panic, but a time to activate our faith and trust the blessed assurance of God’s faithfulness to us.

At the same time, we must attend to precautionary measures:

  • Educate yourself about coronavirus (COVID-19). Ask questions. Stay up to date with information from credible sources, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Maintain strict personal hygiene. Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and warm water, and avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth.
  • Prepare for a possible imposed quarantine. Stock up on food, water, medicine, household supplies, entertainment, communication devices and other essentials to sustain your household for 6-8 weeks.
  • Pay special attention to elderly loved ones and to any person in the home with a compromised health condition.
  • Maintain contact with family and friends through radio, telephone, television, and social media. Visit them “in person” on Skype!
  • Remain calm and prayerful. Seek peace in spiritual pursuits. Explore new ways to stay positive, encouraged, and constructively busy.

Times like these are reminders that health, life, and normalcy are more fragile than we probably realized, but we must always remember that God is in control. Until we can congregate again in person, know that I care deeply about your well-being and will be lifting you in prayer.

Grace and peace be multiplied upon you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Antipas

 

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2020

About the Author: Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), was appointed as the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia in the Spring of 2017. He is the Criminal Justice System Director for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), president of the Global Institute for Empowerment & Leadership Development, known as GIELD, and he serves as the Director of TheUrbanCircle.Net, a relational network of urban ministries and churches. He has additional experience as an educator, academic lecturer, itinerant preacher, pastor, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician. He is the author of Holy Spirit, Holy Living: A Practical Theology of Holiness for Twenty-first Century Churches (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and Unstoppable Success: 7 Ways to Flourish in Your Boundless Potential (High Bridge Books, 2014). AntipasHarris.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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