During my years as an emergency manager, I would travel to places where large areas of the country were ravaged by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. People who lived in these places were truly devastated. With their homes, cars, and other possessions destroyed; they may no longer even have a job to go to. Even worse, this could all be combined with the loss of friends and loved ones. I could certainly never even begin to comprehend the fear and anxiety that these people were experiencing during such a time of uncertainty in which they have no idea how, when, or IF they will ever recover.
For a single individual, the situation is certainly immediately overwhelming. Yet, some of those same individuals being bolstered by their faith and a genuine biblical love for others would rise above the situation. They did this in a way that was seemingly engrained instinctively. If they had food or anything a neighbor needed, they shared it without hesitation. If they could help others, they pitched in and worked tirelessly as an inspirational rally to others that reminds us that we are all in this together and we are going to get through it. Others without such faith and love for others often exhibited great anger at the situation and even at those like me who had come voluntarily to help while being separated from our own families and friends for extended periods of time.
For Christians, it seems to me that times of uncertainty are our chance to put everything into practice that we have learned from the Bible. There is simply no better way to strengthen our faith than by actually exercising it. When tested, we are certainly reminded and comforted by scriptures that apply to the situation. However, when it is time for action like during an emergency, we don’t always have time to go research the Bible and analyze what Jesus would do. The commandment to love one another must be engrained in us through practice and acted upon instinctively:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Yet, all the other things we have learned from the Bible must all work together at the same time when we are experiencing the uncertainties of an emergency or even a crisis such as a pandemic. We cannot show love and do for others if we are consumed with our own worry an anxiety:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
We must not be full of worry, but actually see opportunity; which is certainly hard in such a situation. The old saying “No pain, no gain” is certainly a good reminder that we are actually made better when tested. A number of Bible verses teach us this, including:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” Romans 5:3-4
The Bible is full of stories where people experienced hardships and uncertainty, even for many years. We learn from these stories that it is all for a purpose, it is all just temporary, that God is in control, and that the end result is an eternity spent with him. My prayer is that we will all be comforted by our faith and will see our uncertain time as the opportunity that it is, and that we will truly love one another as we join together in doing His work.