A lot of hysteria has been fueled by media outlets of all types; as a community who seeks truth we want to only share messages from credible sources. trustworthy sites for updates? Governor Mike DeWine has the State of Ohio aggressively providing leadership to address this outbreak.
• State sites you might find helpful is: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/
• The Ohio Health department also has a site I would encourage you to visit: firstname.lastname@example.org
• The state has provided a 24 hour hotline for specific questions: 1 833-4ASKODH
I believe that God has a response that He wants His church to show the rest of the world His love during this situation. I would like to share a word from God for this time by my friend Pastor Pat (Living Word Church).
“First of all, our God is capable beyond our greatest imagination. The accomplishments of Jesus' cross and His resurrection make the “curse of the law” lose its grip on the youngest believer. His greatness should be celebrated every day by every believer. His promises and His AVAILABILITY make our faith to flourish.
Psalm 46:1 says that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And if you were wondering, the time for that promise is NOW!
Please, stop fanning the flames of fear. 365 times in your Bible God says “fear not” which is one for every day of the year. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, as a matter of fact, he commands us not to. We do not have to live in anxiety and worry. Philippians 4 admonishes us not to “worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
So, how do we come out of the cycle of fear?
#1 – Shut off the voice of hysteria. If you want a fire to go out, stop putting more logs on. Most of the time media and the Bible are not compatible. Let’s try an experiment and take out a pen and paper then watch 15 minutes of news, Twitter and Facebook. Then write down how it made you feel. Then, spend a few moments reading Psalms 91 allowing it a moment to settle. Write down how you feel and I promise you that you will feel very differently.
#2 – Stop re-posting the fear of the day. I’m not suggesting that we stick our heads into the proverbial sand but acknowledge that we are not “reporters” and making things worse. In seasons when the world is suffocating with fear it’s more important than ever that God’s people live from a posture of hope!”
As a church, we are praying for those affected and we will continue to do what we can as a church to help. We’ve learned over the years how faithful the Lord is and have seen Him move to help us. Use wisdom just as you would with the annual cold & flu. Wisdom says, wash your hands and if you don’t feel well with cough and a temperature, stay home and see your doctor. Again, use proper hygiene. If you are not feeling well send us a prayer request and remember we live-stream all of our services. We have sanitizing stations all over the facilities. Governor DeWine has shut down events over 100 but has not restricted church attendance. Businesses, restaurants, malls and grocery stores will also remain open.
Next Steps as sons and daughters of our mighty God…
•For the healing of those who are sick and the elderly who are more at risk around the world.
•For the scientists working on vaccines to find a cure.
•For the leaders of the nation to unite together for the sake of its people.
•For people to find faith and not fear.
•For the nation to fix their eyes on Jesus and let His hope revive us.
2. Speak Life: Let’s be a voice of calm and not worry. Let’s be people of faith and not fear.
In Mark 5, a man named Jairus came and asked Jesus to heal his daughter. While on the way a servant from Jairus’ house came and gave the bad news that it was already too late. Immediately, Jesus brought hope into the heart of Jairus. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid only believe”. I believe that is what Jesus is saying to us now. Don’t be afraid only believe!
3. Message fellow students, family, and friends; let them know you are thinking of them. Ask how they are and what particular concerns they may have. You can ask if they would like you to pray for them. Even simple messages can show the student that you care. "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19.) Here are some verses you can send in response to letting them know you are praying for them:
• 2 Tim 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
• Isaiah 40:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
• Psalms 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
• John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
4. Be sensitive to others views on the COVID-19 situation. Listen to people’s unique perspective on the situation, which may involve family or cultural influences. Be careful not to judge, especially views different from your own. You can share your resources and info you know from trustworthy sites, but you do not need to focus on the situation, just be prepared to share the solution…Jesus!
5. Be prepared to share your hope in Christ. Jesus gives abundant reason to give hope both now and in the future! You loving on and serving people may offer an opportunity to share your faith, you can share on the hope that your relationship with Jesus provides you (1 Peter 3:15.) Let the Spirit guide your discussion. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6.)
Remember that it is okay to admit your own struggle with fear and anxiety to the student. They can know that it is okay (even wise!) to turn to God to share our concerns in this world. Christ can shine brighter.