I hope this letter finds you well. Our health is certainly important to us. I also hope this letter finds your family and your friends well.
I am writing this to you because, Christian, you have a role to play in this strange new world. We are in a world of pain and sorrow right now, perhaps more than any other that the world has seen since the Spanish Flu or the Black Death. We are in a world of fear not seen since, at least in the U.S., the 9/11/01 attacks.
Pain, sorrow, and fear. These are hard for anyone to handle. Add to that unprecedented and near-immediate increases in the number of people losing their jobs, hoping for a government solution to their fear-inducing problem: how will I feed and care for my family? Will my children or my parents or my grandparents survive this? What will life be like in three months, six months, a year? A decade?
We are undoubtedly in uncharted waters. But as Christians, we have a Hope which exists outside of any fear or pain or sorrow.
“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
Psalms 43:3-5 ESV
As believers in Christ, we have the same hope David had when he wrote that psalm. As believers, we know God is more powerful than any sickness or suffering we can face. We know God is more loving than we can possibly fathom, and He would not let His children suffer in vain.
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.” Philippians 4:10-14 ESV
When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he was writing not about some little verse we say to encourage each other to play sports or to follow our dreams. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but his intent was far deeper. “God has taught me how to be content, even when I am hungry or sick or even dying.” We, simply put, have God on our side.
So Christian, I write this to you to do a few things.
First, I want to encourage you. God is sovereign. He is powerful. No virus can stymie His purpose. No disease can defeat Him. As bleak as it may look, God is still God and He is still on the throne of Heaven.
Second, I want you to remember not to fear. Countless times in scripture we are told not to fear. We have the most powerful Being on our side; how, then, can we be afraid of anything? Even death holds no dominion, because through His sacrifice and resurrection, Jesus has defeated Death.
Third, I want to ask you to step out of your comfort zone. There are people hurting around you. There are men and women and boys and girls who may never see a loved one again, and they may not have the ability to cope with that. They may not have the promise of the resurrection of the saints. They may not have Jesus. Show them Jesus. Make it clear who you are, don’t back down, and show them love.
Maybe that means doing grocery shopping for someone who is sick or elderly. Maybe it means doing yard work or odd jobs in your community for people who cannot do it themselves. Maybe it means organizing a group from your church who make themselves available to help others in various ways in the community, or to drive people to appointments, or whatever.
But make an effort. Be Jesus here on earth. He who was unafraid of lepers, of the dying, or of even Satan himself is the very same God who resides within you as the Holy Spirit. This is the time for Christ’s bride – the church – to show how we are different.
A Christian Who Has Had to Change, Too