- Foundations of Truth
COVID-19: Keep Calm And Pray To God
In Timothy 1:7, Paul encourages “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Christians in the age of coronavirus must put their faith in God and avoid panicking.
This crisis is unknown in human memory. Global pandemics have happened several times before, the last one being the H1N9 pandemic in 2009. However, the H191 pandemic did not prompt anywhere near as drastic of a response as the COVID-19 virus. This is partially because the two are not equivalent. One of the primary differences is that the COVID-19 virus is more easily spread than H191.  This makes COVID-19 especially dangerous since the world has become more globalized and interconnected over the past century. Diseases can spread more easily through many nations and communities, incentivizing world leaders to respond with harsh measures, like shelter in place orders, to combat the spread of the virus.
Understandably, people feel a sense of fear and anxiety surrounding these unusual circumstances. Psychology Today reports that pandemics tend to generate an increase in peoples’ risk perception since the transmission of viruses is so difficult to pinpoint. This triggers a flight or fight response which leads to behaviors like the hoarding of food and social abuse of people who are perceived as carriers of the illness.  These responses are psychologically understandable but unnecessary and counterproductive.
While many people fear food shortages, the shortages would primarily be manmade, as suppliers are currently having to work over 100% of their capacity because of panic-buying.  When it comes to social panic, as early as March 9th, a plane had to be diverted to Denver, Colorado because the plane’s passengers started to riot when someone on the flight started coughing and sneezing.  Ethically, the most critical time for societies to work together is when they are facing a crisis. American citizens and Christians have a duty to act wisely and manage their fears in a way that will not be dangerous to the common good.
Thomas Jefferson once said that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  While men can certainly never be angels, the better people act the less likely it is that increased government regulation will be necessary. The blessing of self-governance requires people to do exactly that: govern themselves. Panic buying and being violent toward those whom one believes may have the illness will increase the need for government interference.
Christians, especially, must place their faith in Jesus Christ, even in the era of modern medicine, neither hoarding nor xenophobia will offer salvation from illness. Acts 4:12 reinforces that point “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Death will come for all of us and COVID-19 is only one of its many faces. That being said, the virus must be kept into perspective. It can be deadly and all of us have a natural desire to survive. In addition to following the usual social distancing measures, Christians ought to seek and pray to God for an end to this plague because, as Psalm 9:9-10 promises “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
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 Kimberly Hickock, “How does the COVID-19 pandemic compare to the last pandemic?,” LiveScience (March 18, 2020), https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-pandemic-vs-swine-flu.html
 Deborah Serani, “COVID-19 and Pandemic Anxiety,” Psychology Today (March 16, 2020), https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/202003/covid-19-and-pandemic-anxiety
 FairWarning Staff, “‘I win. I got the most toilet paper’: Hoarding during the pandemic,” The Colorado Independent (March 19, 2020), https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2020/03/19/toilet-paper-hoarding-coronavirus-pandemic/
 Matt Kroschel, ”Commotion On Colorado Flight Stems From Sneezing Passenger,” Denver CBS Local (March 9, 2020), https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/03/09/united-airlines-commotion-sneezing-passenger/
 “Federalist No. 51 (1788),” Bill of Rights Institute (n.d.), https://billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/primary-source-documents/the-federalist-papers/federalist-papers-no-51/