It's a strange time and it's bound to make us feel shaky. It's like something is happening to us that we have no choice about or control over. We haven't lived through anything quite like this before.
The Bible talks about fears and worries very openly. It doesn't say we won't have anything to be afraid or worried about. We are not expected to pretend these issues aren't there - it's important to acknowledge them, as the psalmists did. What it does make clear though, is to focus on God during these times. Whatever is going on, he is the unchangeable God who was, and is, and is to come. Is he trustworthy? Yes, completely. Will he help us and give us strength? Yes, he will. How much does he love us? More than we can imagine.
Corrie Ten Boom, who lived through the horrors of the holocaust, said,
'Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.'
We have another key bit of warfare up our sleeve to fight coronavirus: each other. Our actions and our words and our prayers count. A LOT.
Some will be feeling very anxious and we can either feed their anxiety or we can remind them of God's greatness. Let's keep our focus on him, while being mindful of how others are feeling. They may have more reason to avoid the virus than we know, for example, elderly parents, poorly children or have health conditions that aren't public knowledge. We can help them by being really careful with our hygiene, it's a service to them. If you're not a big handwasher - become one, for them.
Finding peace during this time is about striking the balance of not giving into fear but not being flippant or slapdash either. It's a serious situation. It will disrupt our lives for a while, there will be inconvenience, upset, but we have one serious God by our side. He is bigger than any here-today, gone-tomorrow virus - and he's no less good than before it hit.
There's a lot of peace to be found in thinking about others rather than focusing on our own comfort. This is a time when the Church is very much needed to be salt and light. What can we be doing to serve our neighbours, friends and those we worship alongside? Are we praying sufficiently for our Government at this time? We are their invisible back-up and the UK needs us, as does the world.
Sporting, theatre, music events and even church meetings are being cancelled. We are all going to have some free time we weren't planning on. Time to stop and appreciate each other and God. Let's use that for a Kingdom advantage.
How should we pray? Many are finding this from Pete Greig very helpful.
When you're washing your hands repeat a Bible verse like Psalm 23, Romans 8:38 or the Lord's Prayer
Thank God for your hands, for all they are capable of and for others’ hands, especially the medical professionals, and all the work they do.
Remember that God is holding our hands through this time. He is holding us and we are holding onto him.
Ponder on Psalm 46 - say it outloud and until you believe it wholeheartedly.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.
Be still and know that I am God.
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
His peace is the peace that passes all understanding. When nothing else makes sense - He does. He is our peace.