RESPONDING TO COVID, 18.03.20

 

*PLEASE NOTE: 

THIS IS NOT THE AVERAGE “STUDY TOPIC” BUT AN ARTICLE DESIGNED TO ADDRESS THE CURRENT SOCIAL/ECONOMIC GLOBAL CRISIS FROM A FAITH-BASED PERSPECTIVE, CHALLENGING CERTAIN FAITH-BASED ATTITUDES/PERCEPTIONS.

The pendulum swings from one extreme side to the other. We see those who are in denial of the severity of the COVID outbreak, down-playing, minimizing, either negating what procedures are being employed, or sticking their head in the sand, refusing to acknowledge reality. On the other hand, we see those who are overreacting, panicking, taking extreme, irrational, unnecessary measures such as hoarding toilet paper, etc., and expecting the sky to fall any day.

It is time to step back, and reassess. What is most useful, first of all, is to take a rational approach, and place in context the reality that we are in the midst of a global crisis situation. The second most important thing for us to realize is that there are common sense measures that can be taken which can go some distance in preventing the spread and escalation of this virus within the community, province and nation. Thirdly, understand that public health experts are not panicking; they are not overreacting, they are not inciting fear; they are attempting to educate the public on the best ways to approach this situation, and to protect themselves and to prevent this virus from spinning out of control here, as it did in some other nations.

While much is being made of faith/fear within the faith community, this is generating considerable confusion, resulting in divisions and misapplication of the concept of faith, which is only providing food on which the enemy of our souls is gleefully feasting. The issue is not having faith in order to not be afraid of the virus, so much as it is having faith to fly in the face of that which is to come; for this, as we who believe should very well know “is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Matt.24:8).

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline/sound mind” (2 Tim.1:7). Exactly. So we need not live in fear, but simply follow good common sense, being self-disciplined, and able to apply sound thinking, and good judgment and thereby make right decisions. Rational, sound-minded, common sense logic – not panic – that is what is called for in this situation. Following the guidelines of our medical experts is not being fear-driven; it is being supportive, logical, and sensible.  When our Medical leaders/experts advise us to use preventive measures, why should we not employ those measures to our own benefit, just as we likely would do if our family Doctor advised us to follow a particular line of action? Words of wisdom and common sense from Proverbs provide a picture of the ideal response:

PROVERBS 2:

6 For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

8 He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.

11 Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.

“Common sense is sound judgment in practical matters. Biblically, common sense can be thought of as a combination of wisdom and discretion (Proverbs 3:21; 8:12–14). Wisdom is knowing what to do; discretion is knowing when and where to do it” (https://www.gotquestions.org/common-sense.html). Applying these Biblical concepts to the present global crisis enables one to put things in perspective. Integrating the knowledge provided by medical experts with discernment and wisdom for how to practically apply sound judgment maps out a pathway of basic rational logical steps. Common sense calls for precautionary measures when there are steps which can be taken to avoid unnecessary repercussions. In the words of our Alberta Premier: “People should be careful, responsible, but confident; we are as well prepared as any place on earth to handle this” (Premier Jason Kenney, COVID update, March 17, 2020).
Practical advice from our Health Care
Professionals/Authorities have been summarized as follows:
  1. Hand-washing, which goes without saying, as does controlled mannerisms of coughs and sneezes.
  2. Maintaining distances between individuals of 2 meters/6’
  3. Social Distancing 
  • replacing hank-shakes and/or hugs with alternate gestures.
  • No social gatherings above 50  (Note:* U.S. limit is 10)
  • Self-isolating for 14 days if you have any reason to believe you may have the virus, or have come in contact with someone who does.
  • STAYING HOME when you are sick.     
  • Working out of HOME if possible.
  1. AVOIDING all social contact as much as possible.
  2. ABSOLUTELY NO TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY, UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
BELIEVERS, ON THE WHOLE, ARE NOT GOOD AT SOCIAL DISTANCING; AND THERE IS MUCH CONTROVERSY ON THIS TOPIC RIGHT NOW. 

PROVERBS 3:

21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.

    Hang on to them,

22 for they will refresh your soul.

    They are like jewels on a necklace.

 

PROVERBS 8:

5 You simple people, use good judgment.

    You foolish people, show some understanding.

12 I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.

    I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.

13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil.

    Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,

    corruption and perverse speech.

14 Common sense and success belong to me.

    Insight and strength are mine.

“Part of being a fool is having no common sense or being “void of understanding”(https://www.gotquestions.org/common-sense.html), as in: “I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house” (Prov.7:7,8). Why do so many choose to walk in harm’s way when it is  unnecessary?
ACTS 27:21-26

21 No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. 

22 But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. 

23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, 

24 and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ 

25 So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. 

26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”

Paul had tried to warn the men in charge of the ship that they should go a different course, in order to prevent the ship sinking/loss of lives, but they would not heed his advice. Instead of preventing disaster, they chose their stubborn way and suffered losses. However, because of Paul, God was with them and even though the ship went down, no lives were lost. 

Let us be grateful that we have competent Health Care/Medical experts, able to assess the situation and determine the best line of action.  If compliance with Governing/Medical authorities will prevent a worsening of this present situation, it should please us to comply. Criticism and complaining does not present well. Let us replace criticism and complaining with gratefulness. Minor short-term inconveniences in exchange for long-term gain is well worth our participation, while complaining is foolish and immature at best. Furthermore, it is our duty to do our part in preventing the worst outcome. 

IF THE FAITH COMMUNITY IS DETERMINED TO MAKE A STATEMENT OF FAITH THROUGH THIS CRISIS, THERE ARE MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO DO SO. 

Jesus/Yeshua talked about wanting His followers to bear much fruit (John 15:4-8); and this is a golden opportunity. What is more fruit-bearing: spouting off/bragging about one’s superior faith that they are unafraid of getting COVID, or stepping up to the plate with every opportunity that arises: (a) to testify of your faith, by demonstrating (b) Christlike behaviour by offering a helping hand to the sick, to the elderly, to the working families that are without childcare because schools are closed? The first option goes unnoticed by the unbelieving community anyway; it’s only fellow believers that might be impressed, while the second option has good potential.  Such prideful competition between/amongst believers is most displeasing to God, counterproductive, and opens doors to the Enemy. It is an outflow of pride, and most unbecoming for a true disciple of Jesus/Yeshua.

May we remove the hypocritical, sanctimonious pious garb, and put on the real garment of salvation and robe of righteousness (Isa.61:10), step up to the plate, and do our part to assist in lowering the risk of spreading this virus, while at the same time opening the door to creative opportunities to do the work of a true disciple, to shine the LIGHT of Jesus/Yeshua into a dark, frightened world. A world weighted down with fear and distress is an opportunity to share God’s love. What better time than this to bring comfort to hurting, fearful souls around us? Many are either disabled or quarantined by the virus, unable to go out and get food supplies, needing child-care, etc. Assisting those individuals whether through prayer or good deeds will go a good distance towards fruit-bearing for the Kingdom. May we do as the Spirit leads. Perhaps this is an opportunity to show lovingkindness, to comfort, encourage, and bring hope – the hope of the Gospel. Did you ever think that perhaps you were brought into the Kingdom for such a time as this? (Es.4:14). Listen to Jesus/Yeshua’s focus: “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work” (John 9:4).

It’s time to put away all high-minded, sanctimonious attitudes and focus on putting faith to work as the Holy Spirit leads. For those ready for the challenge, there will be no shortage of opportunities. For those who want to flaunt their faith and lack of fear, go to the hospitals and pray for those in confinement in ICU, battling pneumonia, struggling for breath, instead of wasting breath criticizing Government protocol.

WE ARE BLESSED BY THE OPPORTUNITY TO BENEFIT FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF THOSE WHO EXPERIENCED THE OUTBREAK BEFORE US – PLACES LIKE CHINA, S. KOREA, & ITALY ARE ADVISING US TO NIP IN THE BUD WHAT GOT OUT OF THEIR CONTROL. AS A BELIEVING COMMUNITY, WE NEED TO DO OUR PART TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS, INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING ABOUT A FEW INCONVENIENCES. IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE AS WELL AS FOOLISH AND SELFISH TO DO OTHERWISE. LET US EMPLOY WISDOM AND COMMON SENSE. LET US SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE REAL LIVING FAITH. REMEMBER, FOLKS, “FAITH WITHOUT GOOD WORKS IS DEAD” (JAMES 2:26).

© 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

REFERENCES:

Matt.24:8

2 Tim.1:7

Prov.2:6-11

Prov.3:21,22

Prov.8:5,12-14

Acts 27:21-26

Prov.7:7,8

John 15:4-8

Isa.61:10

Es.4:14

John 9:4

James 2:26

“What Does The Bible Say About Common Sense?” https://www.gotquestions.org/common-sense.html

Premier Jason Kenney, COVID ALBERTA GOVERNMENT PREMIER KENNEY live update, 17.03.20

https://www.flickr.com/photos/governmentofalberta/with/49670559861/

https://www.facebook.com/kenneyjasont/videos/486603868677138/ 

https://www.facebook.com/kenneyjasont?redirect=false

Dr. Deena Hinshaw Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Update on COVID-19 – March 17 at 3:30 pm Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of HealthAAlberta’s Chief Medical OfficerHealth

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuGBypovQvs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3TGr_7JS50,  Deena Hinshaw, Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta announces 23 new cases after declaring public health emergency, March 17, 2020.

RESPOND W/PRAYER @ RESPOND W/PRAYER GUIDE, 20.03.20 @