“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”—1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV
Sometimes I struggle with what to say to others during this COVID-19 crisis. People don’t want to hear “don’t worry” when they’ve lost loved ones due to the virus, may be sick themselves, are unemployed, or quite frankly, scared about all the possibilities. News reports that the worst is yet to come and the ever-increasing number of cases, legitimize people’s cause for concern. And, if you’ve watched the Netflix series Pandemic that eerily foreshadowed the destructive impact of a novel virus outbreak, then you know that the projected loss of lives could be in the millions. Despite all of this, my naturally optimistic nature won’t allow me to panic.
It’s not because I’m trying to be extra deep or that I’ve donned a “Super Christian” cape. Those who know me know that’s not how I roll. It’s not because my loved ones are in a bubble, far removed from the crisis. Nope. Quite the opposite. My husband must still go to work Monday through Friday and interact with others. My son continually reports to the Naval base. My father and uncles are part of the vulnerable population. I have loved ones in nursing homes, with weak immune systems, or other health issues. The business my husband and I own has seen a dramatic shift in revenues because of everything that’s happening. So, nope, I’m not calm because my life is unaffected. I’m calm because I cannot afford to let fear and worry overtake me. My mental and emotional stability rely on me digging my heels into the only thing that has gotten me through tough times—my faith.
In the Hunger Games movie, President Snow is quoted as saying, “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.”
While I don’t have the “right words” to share during this time, I pray that I can encourage each of you not to give up hope. Hope is dangerous, but not in the negative way that President Snow mentioned in the movie. He wanted to contain the people’s hope to keep them in line with the oppressive order that he’d established. Likewise, if we lose hope amid this pandemic, the enemy will keep our minds in bondage and consumed with fear. We’ll lose sleep, the quality of our relationships will diminish, and we’re more likely to become depressed.
Even more powerful than hope is love.
Paul wrote, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13
COVID-19 is the perfect opportunity for those of us who know Christ to share His love with others. We can show love in many ways. For example, by sharing our goods with others in need instead of hoarding them, we not only behave differently than those who are fighting in the store over toilet paper, but we would also emulate the behaviors of the very first church members in the book of Acts.
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44–45).
I doubt any of us are to the point of being willing to sell everything we have to give to others. Okay, maybe you are, but I’m not. (Stretch your hands my way!) The point is that they gave unselfishly, and their generosity was motivated by their love for Christ and one another. In whatever way you can look out for others during this time, please do it. It can be a phone call, an email, an encouraging word, or helping out with food or supplies. Do it genuinely and with love. Your actions may be the thing that helps someone else believe.
So, while I don’t have the answers to what’s happening, I choose to share with you what I have—faith in a sovereign God, hope that He will produce something good from this outbreak, and a love for Him and others that I hope will be contagious.