We are walking through days that we have never faced before. We are all scrambling to do the best that we can. Not one of us know how to do this perfectly.
Since January when the coronavirus first started making its way into the American news streams, the questioning began: Is this serious? Will it kill? How should we react?
I remember conversations I shared with others that felt it was no big deal at the time, as did I. It didn’t take long for us to realize things were going to play out a bit differently than the typical flu season. As businesses and schools began to close, fears began to rise. How long will this last? Will there be a way to treat it? How will our hospitals handle it? What about those that are losing jobs? Will there be more implications from this than just a health crisis?
As time progressed, new information surfaced.
I have watched countless doctors stand on two different sides of the “science” fence. Some advocate for stricter rules, others disagree and argue for re-opening.
Politicians rage between party lines. Some seem to be working for our health and freedom, others only for their own.
The point at which I feel truly mad when trying to discern truth is when I see people on two different sides of the lines, kicking and screaming for what they believe to be true, as I stand in the middle trying to grasp, “well who do I believe?” I hold no degrees in medicine, and I’ve never in depth studied the law. So, when many of those that do have that knowledge, divide on what they believe how are we to know what is true?
It doesn’t take but a few scrolls through Facebook to see that we are all just trying to figure this thing out. It’s not just information about the virus, either. The stimulus packages, the scandals, the hidden agendas, the medical debates, the election news, the economic downturn – all are things I find myself searching and searching to “figure out.”
I have spent hours upon hours over the last two months reading, listening, and watching. Though I have never been one to study too far into politics, this pandemic has flipped a switch in me. I desire to be informed, well versed, and knowledgeable on the positions that I take. Why do I believe what I believe? I do not want to be the one fighting for what I stand for, when I have no leg to stand on.
Trust me, I am just as frustrated as the next person when I read the news or listen to a new piece of information. It seems as though as soon as something is stated, something else is released that changes the story. Some doctors say to wear masks, some say don’t. Some say to stay inside, others say that’s causing us greater issues. Political leaders seem to change their mind every hour, or focus on parts of this pandemic that aren’t important at all to the health and well-being of our country. I am frustrated with the constant circle of chasing the true narrative just like you are.
Whether or not we agree on the same means by which this all should be handled, I do think the majority could agree that we all want the same thing- we want what’s best for this country, for our families, for our livelihoods and for our health.
As a Christian I have battled deeply within how to view this time first as a citizen of heaven, and then as a citizen of America. Both are important, but only one is eternal. Not only has this time proved difficult as an American, it’s stretched my faith and caused me to look further into how to exist as a sojourner awaiting my heavenly home, while not neglecting to serve others, love kindness, and do justice in the country I have been born into.
The bottom line is this: we need grace for one another.
I understand that not all motives are pure, but we must seek to understand the views from the opposite side of the fence.
While I am not saying to NOT question the powers that be and the information that you are receiving, because I do think that is important. I am doing that myself! I have opinions and views that may or may not be shared by fellow believers. I love debating these issues, conversing about them, and having discussion with others to help me further understand and grasp all that I believe or don’t believe. However, what I am saying that as Christians we must consider how our speech and our actions are affecting others. Are we building each other up? How are we seeking unity? Are we giving into what the enemy wants and dividing right down the middle as we cling to our sides more than we cling to our faith?
I am not speaking right now to what you should or shouldn’t believe. My concern is more so that the church is allowing the happenings of this world- the world that we are told is NOT our home– to knock us completely off focus.
Pastors and church leaders are having to make extremely difficult decisions – are you praying for them or are you only bashing them for not doing what you think they should do in the time that you think they should do it?
Christians who hold political positions are having to fight tooth and nail to preserve the freedoms we have to our religion. Have you considered that this time might be mentally, emotionally and physically detrimental to their health? Have you stopped to thank them for their desire to serve God by serving the country that he placed them in?
Politicians that aren’t believers are in incredible positions of power that make decisions that affect all. Have you reminded yourself that we are called, by scripture, to pray for our leaders? Have we forgotten that even the coldest heart towards our faith could be changed by the Gospel? Have we forgotten that He has the power to save?
Nurses, doctors, and front-line workers of all kinds are making massive sacrifices for the health of many. Have you reminded them how grateful you are for them and the work that they do?
Brothers and sisters in Christ are facing tremendous struggles from their health to their ability to feed their families and all else in between. Are you encouraging them, seeking to serve them, or casting judgement when you see them out wearing a mask when you believe masks are useless? Or, on the opposite side, are you shouting mean remarks (verbally, behind a screen, or even just in your thoughts) because other believers think that it is time to get back to normal, to open the economy back up, and to remove the restrictions in place when you think it’s too soon?
Maybe I should re word those paragraphs instead to read “am I” doing these things, because if I had to be honest, the answer would be no. Not enough, at least.
The church is on a pedestal right now– how will the world see us? As hypocrites who divide amongst each other and fight to get their own way? Or will they see an example of a people walking humbly together, even when we disagree, for a greater goal than any vaccine, economic breakthrough, political ruling, or medical discovery could every bring about? Do you even know what I am talking about? THE GOSPEL. Have we completely lost sight?
Are we willing to say “Lord, change my heart, even if it is uncomfortable? Help me to see as you see, and to love truth of your Word more than self and more than preferences.”
Psalm 1 tells us that we should delight in the Law of the Lord more than ANYTHING else. Are we seeking to spend time in Scripture just as much as we are seeking to justify and find facts to back up what we believe to be true about this pandemic? Though there isn’t a verse that says, “and when you face the coronavirus do this…” there are verses that tell us our purpose, how to love one another, how to face trials of various kinds, how to show grace and mercy, and how to walk in obedience.
Form your opinions. Seek to know the truth. Dig to find answers. Discuss it with your trusted friends and family. But in the meantime, show grace to others who are doing the exact same thing you are doing. Pray to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life, now more than ever. Meditate on His Word day and night. Seek to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with your God.
To even write these words my toes were stepped on. I have not done a good job at these things I’ve listed above. Instead, I have been more concerned with proving what I believe to be true.
As believers we are called to care, to be involved in government affairs, to make wise decisions in who we vote for, what we believe in, and how we live as citizens of this country. I hope to write more on my thoughts on that soon. However, for now, I encourage you brothers and sisters to not forget the hope that we have in Christ. This is a hope that is not based on circumstances, but on a grave that is empty. May we cling to that reality that is true and share it with others now more than ever before.
Our hope is not in odds. Our hope is in God. – John Piper
We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, but we do know what is going to happen ultimately. – Allie Beth Stuckey
I want to offer you this prayer challenge. It has helped me to switch my perspective each day. I invite you to join in on this with me. Change the days to make them personal to you, if that helps, but do not neglect to pray– for all things, knowing who your God is.
Monday: Your circle of friends, family, church members, and coworkers
Tuesday: Universal and persecuted church
Wednesday: All government leaders- local, state, and national
Thursday: Healthcare workers and first responders
Friday: Vulnerable communities- those who have lost jobs, those who are impoverished, single parent homes, those who are sick, etc.
Saturday: Those who do not know Christ
Sunday: Brothers and sister in Christ
It has helped me to set reminders in my phone to go off at a convenient time each day. If you join in on, let me know. I would love to hear how the Lord is working in your heart through prayer and scripture during these days.
I am praying for you, brothers and sisters in Christ. Those these times are hard, we know the end of our story.
This post was originally shared here on Emily Jones’ own personal blog. You should check it out- we are a little partial to her since she is a staff writer here at the Dogwood Journal also! If you would like to be featured at the Journal, visit our submissions page here.