Pandemic! Quarantine! Illness! Virus! Deaths!
It seems these words have become a scary part of our daily lives. Even the calmest among us may have some anxiety right now.
How should we respond as Christians who believe in God?
- Believe and have faith.
By video this week, a local Nazarene church pastor urged his members to remember they are Christians and believe in God. One thing he said was very memorable to me, “God is not wringing His hands over this.” Although He is sad to see His kids suffering, it is absurd to think of Him being anxious. This virus did not surprise Him.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Staying calm is an effort. One way to keep calm is to remember the ways God has lead in the past. Remember the things He has done. Write them down. Thank Him for how He has led in the past.
While we should ask God for protection, we do not need to beg constantly. God loves us. He does not stand there counting how many times we beg and then make a decision, “OK, OK… I’ll help you!”
Believe He loves you.
Do not verbalize fear and anxiety. Against what you may have been told, talking about things we are anxious about causes our anxiety to increase and increases the anxiety of those we talk to. Praise God for He “inhabits the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3 KJV
Preparation is biblical.
Noah was told to prepare for a flood. Joseph was led to prepare for a famine.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Proverbs 22:3 NIV
Prudent means “acting with or showing care and thought for the future” according to dictionary.com. This does not mean panic buying or hoarding. Prudent would be doing following the recommendations at www.ready.gov:
- Store two week supply of water (if you are unable to use your local water) and food.
- Check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies or electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.
- Talk with loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them.
As someone who grew up bit isolated on a farm, and as a healthcare provider, I wholeheartedly agree with these recommendations. They are not overboard, they are prudent. These are rules our family followed living in the country because there were emergencies.
This does not have to be all doom and gloom.
On the farm, “emergencies” were a little bit fun. The lights would go out and we would do things we didn’t get to do other times. We got snowed in many times–and I mean snowed in! One time my dad called the county sheriff because I had a bad ear infection (since before the storm started) and our road had been impassable for days. Yes, I was in pain, but was a great story later!
As Christians, we believe in science–afterall, God created science!
3 . Science
As a healthcare provider, I can tell you God works miracles every day and keeps pandemics from being a constant theme! Sometimes He does have to let evil have its way though. Then we see how much He saves us from.
Sure we have come a long way with modern medicine and research. God has led us. Through science we have found out how disease spreads. That is in part why we have not had a major pandemic since 1918.
We know how to prevent it.
We know about the importance of handwashing, cleaning touched surfaces, and social distancing. We also have learned about vaccinations. Plus, we know many ways to support and treat people who are sick and keep them from dying.
This pandemic is NOT caused by a government conspiracy, period! We are Christians and therefore we believe in science because God created it during the creation week and even before.
“Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekial 47:12
4. Natural Remedies
God gave us many natural remedies for our use and Adventists are often more aware of these than most. However, a word of caution. All things in moderation. Even vitamins and herbs can be harmful in excess or in combination with certain medications. For example: Vitamin D and E can cause increased blood pressure in some people or in excess, and Echinacea can cause liver problems in some people or in excess. Each of these and all other remedies have a long list of side effects and cautions just like medications. Also there can be interactions with other medications. Please be careful.
However, there are many natural remedies which are safe:
- Nutrition–eat a healthy as close to plant-based as possible. Avoid excess sugar as it can lower your immune defenses.
- Exercise–preferably in the outdoors. While our local gyms may take a hiatus due to this virus, we can exercise. Take a walk. Lift some canned food at home. Do some push-ups, planks, and stretching.
- Water–drink water! Water helps improve your defenses, keep you airway clear, and thins secretions. Wash your hands! Take a shower. If your heart is healthy and you have no other reason to avoid sudden temperature changes, take a hot and cold shower alternating a few times during your shower. This can improve mood, and improves circulation which improves immunity.
- Sunlight–Unless you have a high risk for skin cancer, try to get 20 minutes of sun every day.
- Temperance–Everything in moderation. The studies are showing this virus is much harder on smokers. Use this as incentive to stop. Alcohol also lowers immunity, so avoid it. This also applies to stocking up, planning, and social distancing.
- Air–Whether you are sick or healthy, fresh air is a must. At this time of year, many of us can open our windows. The sunshine and free flowing air will improve the home atmosphere and help get rid of germs.
- Rest–Our immune systems cannot work without enough sleep. Do everything you can to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Trust in God–anxiety can actually tear down you immune defenses. Remember, you are a believer. Trust Him.
What else can we do?
5. Taking care of you
Wash your hands. Did you know handwashing is actually more effective than hand sanitizing? In the process of washing, we get rid of the germs. With hand sanitizer, we are trying to kill germs while they remain on our hands.
Quarantine is actually a biblical way to handle a pandemic.
Have some fun. We are all going to be spending a little more time at home for awhile and hopefully most of the time we will be well. Remember God gave Israel certain quarantines to keep from spreading disease to the whole community. (See Leviticus 13:1-59)
While social distancing is an adjustment, it can be fun too! Much of staying home is about attitude. There are multiple lists all over the internet of activities to do while in quarantine. HAVE SOME FUN! It can be great family memory in years to come.
Keep things clean. You do not have to be fanatical, but yes, we need to keep things clean. Anything you can do along these lines will be helpful to your whole community and to the whole nation. We need to slow this down.
Gratitude. Be watchful for the good things which will come from this. Write them down. Praise God for them. I am already praising God for what He is going to teach me and how He is going to bring me through this–financially and physically.
Life in this world is not fair.
6. There likely will be losses
God never promised we would not have trouble in our lives. It isn’t fair, it isn’t what He wants, it isn’t what we want. It is life in this world. Some of us have or will have financial losses during this time. God will be there. He has a way.
Undoubtedly, some of us will suffer the loss of someone we love during this pandemic. This does not mean God has abandoned us. Some will go to their rest and await seeing Jesus. Love your families. Love your friends. If you have something to make right, do it. None of us is ever guaranteed tomorrow. This pandemic is simply a reminder of that reality.
How can I help others?
7. Our communities
It can be difficult to know how much is too much toilet paper, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, food, or medicine. Please share. Some people may are in need due to chronic illness, money, inability to get to the store, or they didn’t realize the necessity of preparation. Share safely and carefully so as not to share germs, but share. There really is enough to go around. God also blesses those who bless others.
Many older persons are already very lonely. Now they are being told to stay home to save themselves! They may need to stay home for months. This is going to cause even more loneliness. Lonely people die sooner of all diseases. For their health they need human contact. Call or video call the older folks in your life. Chat with them about everything and about nothing. My 91-year-old father is still amazed by Skype!
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10 NIV
Read Psalm 46:1-11 for some words truly written for today.