Depending on what you’re reading or listening to, you may be struggling with questions about how best to protect yourself and your family during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, especially if you or someone in your life is immunocompromised or elderly or very young. These are the ones with higher risks which makes things even more intense.
You wonder; Is the virus spread through the exchange of money? Or boxes from Amazon? Or the person next to you on the bus, train, Uber, or church? If the person next to you just sneezed, should you stay calm and pray or spray yourself with Lysol? Do you need a mask?
Do I Go To Church During The Coronavirus Virus Pandemic Or Not?
Everyone is responding differently and there are a number of unanswered questions, but here’s one thing you are assured of when you build your life on Jesus Christ: You are not alone, even now. The Lord promised to be with you.
Isaiah 43:2 NLT When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Of course, you want to do everything you can to stay healthy. Some areas have shut down schools and public meeting spaces, including banning crowds or meetings of various sizes and the President has restricted international travel to areas that have high infection rates. There may even be restrictions on United States domestic travel. We should all obey lawful bans and restrictions.
Aside from these things should the Coronavirus stop us from going to church? I can't answer that question for you because everyone has different circumstances, but here are some important things to think about in making your decision.
First let me say this; “never use faith when you should use wisdom." This is a powerful reminder that you have been given the right tools to make the right decisions. Some are pure faith, others will be made from the wisdom God has instilled in you through His Holy Spirit.
Going out in “faith” may not be the answer if staying home in “wisdom” is the more appropriate decision. God has given you the ability to discern!
James 1:5-6 NLT If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
If you do decide to go to church, your faith and the faith of others is at work. As Christians we live differently than the world does. We have a firm foundation in Christ. We are used to operating in a world that is filled with trials, dangers, threats, and rejections. The tragedies that sin has caused in this world is nothing new, and we’ve all read what the Bible says about standing in faith in the midst of trials.
Ephesians 6:13 NLT Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
When you’re at church, you have other believers, agreeing in prayer. There’s something supernatural about “two or three” gathering together!
Matthew 18:20 NLT "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
When we go to church with others, we enjoy worship, testimonies, and encouragement together.
If you’re struggling with fears surrounding Coronavirus, it helps to lean on the strong faith of another Christian. If you’re grappling with thoughts about friends and family members, or biological warfare, or the government agendas, vaccine concerns and all the rest, fellow believers will pray with you, speak the Word, and remind you of the promises of God.
Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (emphasis mine)
The point? The worse it gets, the more we need each other.
If you don't have any symptoms yourself, and you decide to go to church, be safe and smart. If you want to wear a mask, go ahead, although doctors say it’s not really necessary, because the virus spreads more often from transfer contact between hands and surfaces.
Think about sitting a little more spread out from others. Don’t shake hands or hug for a while. Most churches haven't sanitized everything, so you are your own best protection. Avoid touching things, wash your hands frequently, sanitize them frequently in between and bring latex gloves for extra protection if you feel safer.
I know that's a lot but think about this: The enemy will use any tool to keep you isolated from one of your greatest sources of strength--other Christians. And if being afraid to go to church keeps you home, it’s a win for the enemy. He’d love nothing more than to you keep you oppressed and living under fear. The uncertainty and,all the unknowns about the Coronavirus are causing fear in the hearts of many.
Are there risks and dangers if you continue going to church during the Coronavirus pandemic ? Yes. Are there risks and dangers every day in your life that come at you, which Lord has kept you safe from, risks you’ll never even know about? Yes.
Don't Feel Guilty About Staying Home
There are examples in the Bible of people staying home when they were sick.
When Peter's mother was sick she was not around other folks. If fact Luke, who was a doctor, noted that she was at home and had not gone to the synagogue because she was sick.
Luke 4:38 NLT After leaving the synagogue that day, Jesus went to Simon’s home, where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick with a high fever. “Please heal her,” everyone begged.
The Apostle Paul went to visit a man who was home sick.
Acts of the Apostles 28:8 NLT As it happened, Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him.
God knows when you're sick and in bed.
Psalms 41:3 NKJV The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.
If you’re sick, stay home in bed. But, while your body may be weak, your spirit can be strengthened through listening to the Word of God, on television, an audiobook, or services and sermons streamed over the Internet.
You Can Experience Church At Home And Not Be Alone
If you’re home because you don’t want to get sick, then build others up by posting encouraging Scriptures on social media. Exhort your friends. Write, post and share a prayer. Share inspirational articles or posts. Speak faith. Share a testimony.
If you’re at home because you are sick, ask for help and ask for people to pray with you.
James 5:16 NLT Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (emphasis mine)
Praise God for technology today because of it there are so many ways to stay connected in the faith when we need it. Praise God for the miracle of modern science and discoveries, all of which are inspired by God.
God can use any method, vehicle, or means to address our every need. The Coronavirus pandemic did not catch Him of guard. If you’re wondering what to pray for while you’re staying home from church, pray against the spirit of fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
We can always rely on the love God has for us.
1 John 4:16-18 NLT We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
Naturally, the enemy wants to keep people trapped in fear and panic about Coronavirus, and everything else, so they cannot rest in the peace and knowledge of the love of God.
If you’re staying home from church, for any reason, you can still pray. S.D. Gordon said that “Prayer strikes the winning blow.” So, pray, in Jesus name, for the healing of those who are ill. Pray for the protection of those who are not ill. Pray for the knowledge of those addressing the pandemic and for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to uncover the answers to all of the questions.
John 16:13 NLT When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.
The Role Of The Church
There is a fascinating phenomenon, that has been studied known as “intrinsic religiosity”. Experts have observed that people of faith don’t run away from tragedy. Findings have shown that those with faith in God tend to operate in that faith. Why? Because we have an assurance that when we die, we will be with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
We have compassion for and among the sick and dying, following the example of Jesus Christ. We have faith for miracles. We believe God wants to heal. We understand there is an enemy we have authority over. We have a perspective of life that exists beyond the natural realm.
One of the most important lessons that pandemics, epidemics, plagues, and the like can teach us is that there is really nothing new.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 NLT History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.
Disasters, both natural and man-made have happened since Adam and Eve sinned in Eden. But in this world of trials, Jesus said;
John 16:33 NLT I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
The world needs Jesus and you know Him and that can only happen through the Church. Whether you feel led of the Lord to go to church or not during this time, be led of the Lord. You can get sick from anything and anyone and anywhere—or not!
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Coronavirus or not move forward in your life in faith!