On the 30th of April, Cru held a webinar on “Covid-19 Conversations: The Christian Response to Public Health Crises”, the first in its series of special webinars with distinguished speakers to provide a platform for you to ask questions, receive counsel and be discipled during an unprecedented time of our lives.
It’s hard to find someone who has not been affected by the coronavirus situation in Singapore. The most well-laid of plans have gotten cancelled; workplaces and schools have suddenly been brought into the home; we may know someone who has been infected, or may even have been infected with it ourselves.
Given all of this, amidst all the “McDonalds is closed” laments and dalgona coffee being made, many of us are driven to ask questions like:
· As Christians, how are we called to respond differently?
· Where is Christ in all of this?
· How do we deal with worry, both in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones?
These were the questions dealt with in Cru’s first COVID conversation, a webinar moderated by Dr Thong Chan Kei, the author of Faith of Our Fathers.
AN ‘INSIDER’ PERSPECTIVE
Many of our coronavirus worries stem from our ‘not-knowing’. We try to piece together a clear picture from news articles, press releases, even rumours, often settling for a hazy understanding of the issues.
However, as Christians we are called to “seek knowledge” that we may have “discerning hearts” (Proverbs 15:14).
Drawing on his experience as a medical doctor of over 40 years, Assoc. Prof Dr Benjamin Ong assured that Singapore’s healthcare system is well-equipped, outlining three main concerns in any given crisis:
1. protecting people,
2. healthcare capacity and
3. the economy and livelihoods.
In addition, it is important for us to remember, thank God and pray for the frontline workers, who as Dr Ong stressed:
“All healthcare professionals exist to serve patients and the public. So whenever there’s any given crisis, [we] in general will not shirk from it. In fact, it is known that we will move in the direction of a potential danger to serve those that are in need.”
For followers of Christ, the more we know, the more we know we have been blessed. The Bible teaches us receive all things with grateful and prayerful hearts (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
It is with this kind of heart that individual believers can respond to this crisis rightly, with:
· A focus on God’s unchanging salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-19; Psalm 46:1-2)
· A posture not of striving, but of waiting on the Lord (Psalm 46:10)
· Actions that love God and love our neighbour (Luke 10:25-37; Micah 6:8)
DEALING WITH OUR INNER ANXIETIES
COVID-19 has inadvertently surfaced the human propensity to worry.
Some of us get worries about getting infected by family members or simply leaving the house to buy food. Or perhaps you may be a frontline worker yourself.
As Christians, how do we hold fast to what Jesus tells us: to not worry (Matthew 6:25)?
How would you feel, when you are living with three doctors during this pandemic?
Such is the case of Mrs Ong Cheow Lan, a lawyer and also wife of Dr Ong, who shared what has helped her:
1. LOOK AT THE FACTS
We need to take a step back and take a look at the big picture.
Mrs Ong says whenever she starts to get worried, she remembers all the safety procedures put into place to protect healthcare workers.
Likewise, let us focus instead on the effective measures and protective efforts put into place in Singapore—and on God, who makes them effective!
2. LOOK IN THE WORD
God does not say that we will not face troubles in this life; in fact, we must be ready for it (Luke 10:3).
However, what He does give us are His powerful, unchanging promises that we can rest upon (just to name a few):
· God is sovereign and in control (Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Job 42:2)
· God is faithful to His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9, Hebrews 10:23)
· No harm will befall us, except that which God permits for our good (Job 1:12, Romans 8:28, Psalm 91)
Even though it is normal to be worried at times, we don’t have to stay that way! We have a faithful and loving God, who has reveals Himself to us in His Word— His immeasurable power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:19).
3. LOOK BACK AND REMEMBER GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
God’s past faithfulness in our lives is a good indicator of His present and future faithfulness.
Are we taking time to take stock and remember how God has delivered us in the past while eagerly anticipating His deliverance to us in our current situation (Psalm 119:55; Deuteronomy 5:15; Matthew 16:9-10)?
4. LOOK UP IN PRAYER
Even though many of us are stuck at home, we are not powerless. Our weapon is prayer (Ephesians 6:18). Seek out people whom we can partner with in prayer, committing our anxieties and worries to the Lord (Philippians 4:6) together.
SMALL KINDNESSES AND A BIG GOD
So, then, how should we respond?
The key thing to remember is to return to God.
Let’s use this time to grow our relationship with Him and learn to draw on His lovingkindness.
Then look around and see how we can bless others! Some ideas could include:
Some of these are kindnesses that we can only do in this age of staying home. Let’s make good use of it.
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Timothy is a young adult (and occasional poet) passionate about inspiring in people a deeper interest in God’s Word, and discovering the divine in the ordinary. He is a graduate of Tung Ling Bible School (School of Ministry) and an undergraduate of NUS. He also enjoys musicals, crosswords and a good game of chess.
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