Orange County Herald Center COVID-19 Community Resources
A Pastoral Counselor’s Reflection Amidst COVID-19
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Over the course of these few weeks as we have been living in the new reality of COVID-19, I have heard a varying degree of Christian responses to COVID-19. For some, we must take all necessary precautions out of love for our neighbor and flattening the curve. For others, this is a time for the church to rise up and be the community of strength that doesn’t live in fear but demonstrates power. The tension comes when there are disagreements over how to implement these well intentioned ideas.
First, let’s consider what it means to live in a spirit of fear. Fear is an interesting emotion that seems to be highly connected with surprise, sadness, and anger. Encountering something we were not expecting (surprise), experiencing the loss of the safety of life’s rhythms (sadness), or feeling the need to respond quickly to fight the problem (anger) are all ways in which we can respond to fear. Another way to think of this, is when our body’s automatic nervous system is triggered by some threat, we have four responses. We can face the issue, fight the issue, flee from the issue, or freeze amidst the issue. As we consider the threat of COVID-19, it is understandable that as Christians we may default to fight, flee, or freeze. As we look at 2 Timothy 1:7, the spirit of fear is not an anomaly but a very real reality that we must respond to through the power of the Holy Spirit towards greater love and self-control.
In our new reality of COVID-19, we are not given a time to pause from loving those God has placed in our lives. While there are many things that we must pause, we must not pause in love. As our lives have slowed down, we must take advantage of the slower pace of life and in response invest in love. Take this season to enter and soak in the intimate relationship we have with God. As there is now more time, let us open God’s word and really strive to hear from God, let us spend time in prayer and thanksgiving over how all of life is sustained by God’s grace, and let us develop a heart of worship that will carry over even after COVID-19. Take this time in your life to not only love God, but to love others. Let us rise up to be a church, that takes the initiative to call up one another to simply chat and spend quality time, that meets the needs of the more vulnerable in our society, and to be citizens that do not add to the panic but are able to be agents peace through informed and empathetic discourse.
Remember that God is God and you are not. For some of us, in moments of panic we are tempted into a Messiah complex. Let us be Christians of humility and trust that God has placed people in our lives who are tirelessly working to figure out a solution to COVID-19. Let us as Christians rise up to have a measured and wise response. We do not need to hoard resources for fear of scarcity, create more noise to accelerate panic, or overreact to the chaos that is being thrown at us. Rather, we must become generous in understanding that there are many who will be hit hard during this time, empathetic in listening amidst the panic that creates fear, and respond to the chaos in a godly and wise way that first seeks His will and not ours.
The truth is the world is a scary place. There is a ton of fear and insecurity, and while we are Christians we are not immune to any of this; however, as Christians we know the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Great Physician. We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know the one who holds tomorrow and as Christians I implore all of us to remain steadfast and to be still and know that He is God. My prayers are with you, and remember that you are known and loved.
David Ding, Director of Life Groups and College Ministry, University Covenant Church