Written by Tim Schaser
Surreal is the best word I could come up with.
The day that the current COVID-19 outbreak was labeled as a pandemic, I made a trip to Walmart. Great decision, right? I prepared myself for what to expect: Empty shelves and long lines. Kind of like Black Friday, but for toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
This indeed came to pass. What was surreal to me though was not only the absence of TP, but the state of my fellow shoppers. I could see fear in their eyes. Loaded shopping carts, frenzied phone calls to loved ones taking stock of what they need, crying children who could no doubt sense the anxiety of their parents. This was no Black Friday atmosphere, which has that air of frenzied excitement. This was, for lack of a better phrase, a sign of the Apocalypse.
Is this fear warranted? From a worldly perspective, absolutely. Many of us are now having to adjust and adapt to being confined to our homes, only able to leave for essentials. This affects our jobs, our education, and our sanity.
But even from a Christian perspective there seems to be reason for fear. Many churches have now closed their doors and are only offering online services. Our faith life would seem poised to take a big hit without the regularity of weekly services and fellowship with Christian friends.
We Christians, however, have hope and assurance to quell our fears. We have faith rooted in Christ who has delivered us from our inevitable death, whether from COVID-19 or otherwise. We have the promises directly from the Word of God: fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). Our Almighty God — who sent Jesus to conquer sin, sickness and death — is in control. His promises never run out and are free for everyone.
With these promises in mind, we are compelled — and instructed — to share these promises with a world shrouded in fear and doubt. But, there is one snag: How can we “Go therefore” without being able to go, well.. anywhere?
Some of us are blessed with the ability to work from home with our professions. But we are all blessed with the ability to work from home in our faith lives. I have seen a great number of CLC pastors working hard to record sermons, daily devotions and bible classes which can easily be shared through social media. I have seen family and friends posting and emailing words of encouragement. I have seen communities coming together and sharing things that they have with others in need. Even just a simple smile to a stranger in the store (from 6 feet away, of course) can make all of the difference.
We who have reason to hope should share that with others who may have none. We can stand firm in faith upon the waters, though plagued with doubts, knowing that our Savior is holding us up. If you think about it, this shared experience we have with the rest of the world is the perfect opportunity to be a witness.
So while we are all weathering this global pandemic, we can rest assured knowing that God has a plan. It’s interesting how this social isolation can bring us closer together due to a common cause, even if those interactions are mostly digital. My prayer is that we can use this trying time in our lives to strengthen our own faiths and share the promises and assurances of our all-knowing God to others.