It is Sunday morning, March 22, and I am sitting in my office thinking about how strange this day is. We are normally in the worship service right now, but the church building is quiet. Services today have been cancelled. Our Sunday morning message is still being broadcast on FOX 16 at 9 a.m. each week, but worship in our sanctuary is cancelled at least through April 1.
It is rare for corporate worship to be canceled on the Lord’s Day. Usually, this only happens when roads are iced over or in the event of a natural disaster. But for a virus? Who would have thought this three months ago? People are encouraged to stay home as much as possible, and care for themselves and their families and others during this disease outbreak.
There is a lot of fear and uncertainty surrounding this Coronavirus pandemic. Many are infected. Many are dying of this disease. We are encouraged to quarantine ourselves and limit our contact with others. Businesses are being affected. Many have lost their jobs. We pray this will be temporary and that all will be fully employed again and well soon.
Who could have imagined that churches and schools would have to close to slow the spread of a disease? Many are lonely, fearful and anxious right now. What do we do now?
First, on the Lord’s Day, (since this is written on a Sunday, but every day for that matter), I encourage you to take the time to pray and worship God in your homes with your families. In the good times and in the bad, God is worthy of our worship. We can worship Him right now where we are.
Take your Bible and read His Word. God’s Word speaks to these days. We are not a people of fear, but a people of faith and trust in God. Choose faith over fear. We are threatened by an invader called Coronavirus. Our natural response is to be afraid. Once, the nation of Israel was being threatened by a different kind of invader.
There was an enemy nation that threatened to attack. So, the people were afraid. In that moment, God spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you.”
God’s promises still apply to us today, as we seek Him and trust Him.
Listen to this promise from Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Second, take time to pray. God is aware of what we are facing. He is still on His throne. God’s plan for us is that we lean on Him and trust Him with our time on earth. Our God is a good Father who loves us, and He will see us through this crisis.
Pray for yourself, your family, your church family, your neighbors, your co-workers, our community, and especially the medical community as they stand on the front line of confronting this pandemic. Pray for our local, state, and national leaders as they lead us in these days.
Last, take time to check on each other to be certain that medical and emotional and personal needs are being taken care of. Many are lonely right now. Reaching out to others is of utmost importance in days like these. Especially reach out to someone if you are in need of help. As we take care of each other, we will come through this together.
Until we come through this crisis, “May the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
Ken Thornton is pastor at First Baptist Church of Pine Bluff.
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