Our Christian faith, and its live-giving principles, ought to be our most important resource during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This pandemic has the potential of negatively impacting us in many ways. I’ll address two areas that the research shows could be harmful to our health. Fear or anxiety/worry, and isolation and the sense of loneliness that accompanies it. Both of these can be types of stress that can be detrimental to a person’s mental and physical health.
But, if we embrace and apply key principles of our Christian faith, we can be markedly less affected by the circumstances associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Read the Bible and Embrace Its Truths. We have good reason to be concerned about becoming affected with COVID-19 as the health consequences of becoming infected are numerous. But, if we are constantly worrying, this internal state can put us at higher risk of becoming infected because chronic anxiety, worry, and stress can weaken the immune system. And our immune system is our body’s primary way of warding off viral infections.
Religion as a ‘coping behavior’ is a term that many researchers use to describe the benefit that one’s faith can be in times of stress. The research literature contains many examples of how people of faith turn to their religion for comfort and strength in times of stress. And many people are stressed now!
Let’s look at one important practice of our faith that can help us do less worrying. Reading the Bible, especially verses that remind us of God’s nature, His promises and his guidance to us, can give us a sense of hope and comfort and strength and peace. Then, if we embrace the truths that we read, the corresponding attitudes, mindsets and emotions can alleviate any anxiety we might otherwise experience.
Here are a few relevant scriptures:
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you. Psalm 91:1-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Be in Community With Other Believers. During this season when we are being encouraged to limit out interactions with others in social settings and practice ‘social distancing,’ the associated isolation can result in feelings of loneliness. And loneliness can alter immune system cells in a way that increases susceptibility to illness. So, a chronic sense of loneliness can cause our immune system to be less strong and therefore make us more likely to contract a viral infection.
So we should try to stay as connected, or in community, as much as possible with others during this pandemic. We should do our best not to be isolated.
The Bible has many verses that encourage us to be in community with one another.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 Corinthians 4:26
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
There are creative ways that we can still interact with one another and experience a sense of connectedness without ‘going to church’ or being in close contact with others. Having conversations in person while remaining 6 feet away and wearing a mask seems to be a safe practice. We can use our mobile devices or computers or telephones to call one another, or Face Time or Zoom.
The important thing is to remain connected to others – heart to heart – in meaningful ways. That’s what God desires! And it’s also good for our health.
This COVID-19 pandemic will be around for a while. As we make a choice to lean into our relationship with God and apply his instructions and wisdom that we find in Holy Scripture, we can enjoy an added level of protection from the coronavirus.
And, as we will be less likely to become sick, we will remain healthier and better able to serve God and others.
Live Bible Study and Workshop on Zoom. I now have 1 seat remaining in my upcoming 10-week PathWay 2 Wholeness Bible Study that will be conducted live using Zoom in September. I also have slots remaining in my live 3-hour Faith and Health Link Workshop that will be held online on August 27th and September 3rd.
Love this article, Dale. Definitely agree spending more time in His Word and with other believers will help us get through these difficult times!
Grace and peace,