Looking Up and Looking Out During the Age of Coronavirus
How can we continue to take opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ during the coronavirus pandemic? Look up, and look out.
We all recognise these are unusual and uncertain times; unprecedented in our lifetime. Many people are understandably anxious, fearful and feeling insecure - physically, emotionally, financially, and socially. As we follow government advice many will feel isolated and alone. Many will wonder what the future holds.
As believers in the Lord Jesus our first response must be to look up to our loving Heavenly Father.
He reigns secure on his throne and he is sovereign. COVID-19 and its consequences have not taken him by surprise. His good purposes are being, and will be, fulfilled.
Going through the Lord’s Prayer phrase by phrase provides a helpful framework for praying. We have the privilege and responsibility to pray for our families, our nation, our leaders, our emergency services, and our neighbours.
Trusting our Heavenly Father, we are also called to look out at the opportunities this pandemic gives us to honour our Lord Jesus and serve others with His good news.
Coronavirus provides opportunities to:
We can show kindness to the church family and, as we have opportunity, to all people (Galatians 6:10).
Where we each live is no accident. Who our neighbours are has been appointed by God: “for such a time as this” God has placed us each where we are (Esther 4:14).
Saved by God’s grace, each day is full of good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do. A card through an elderly neighbour’s door; a daily phone call to someone you know may be living alone and feeling isolated; simple ways of showing deliberate kindness.
“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Engage in Conversation
Emergencies like this provide opportunities to engage in conversation with neighbours and others with whom we would not normally speak.
Let’s pray that we will have the courage to “be wise in the way we act towards outsiders;” and to “make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:4).
Why not think in advance of how you might identify yourself as a Christian? You could ask someone how their life is being affected and then share the impact it is having on you, on our local church, and how we are seeking to keep in contact with each other.
It’s also good to tell people we will pray for them. Making a note of their name helps us to remember to do so.
Give the Reason for the Hope That We Have
A BBC news headline read: “UK Changes Course Amid Death Toll Fears”. No one knows what the final death toll will be, but it is a sombre reminder of the dark shadow death casts over us all as we live in a fallen world. It reminds us that so many live without God and without hope.
Our hope is in our Lord Jesus, who alone can rescue us from death. He has taken God’s wrath upon himself as he died on the cross and by his resurrection, he has defeated death. He is the reason for our hope in the face of death.
As we daily set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts, let us “always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks [us] to give the reason for the hope that we have”, doing so with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
One way to do this is to have something to give people. Roger Carswell has written a little leaflet entitled “Hope Beyond Coronavirus” which is available from 10ofthose for 15p per leaflet, or less if you order multiple copies. We will be uploading the text of this leaflet to our church website and have ordered some for giving away.
Speak of Jesus, the Burden-Bearer
Many we speak to will be anxious and burdened; anxieties and burdens we may well share. We want to show sympathy and compassion.
It is our privilege to speak of our Lord Jesus who says to all “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
Why not print off that verse (or some other verse) on a little card and have it in your pocket ready to give to others as an opportunity arises.