What Is a Reasoned Response (Covid 19)

by Kelly Borjas

I remember a few months ago seeing news coverage of the Coronavirus in China: people lined up around the block for masks, a husband in full protective gear to care for his infected wife. At the time, I gave it a passing thought. Honestly—it was an “I’m sorry for them and glad we aren’t dealing with that in America.” Then I moved on with my life, to my plans, problems, and my celebrations.

Flash forward, and the impact of the Coronavirus is felt and seen worldwide. As my husband said, it feels like a wave that is coming. News, social media, conversations, politics, even churches are responding to this pandemic. In my life I can recall two defining moments that seem on par with the magnitude of this situation: 9-11, and the economic collapse in 2008. The same feelings and behaviors emerged during those times: fear, speculation, uncertainty, and a drastic shift in daily behaviors.

I find myself trying to figure out how to respond as a Christian. As a Christ-follower, my hope is secure in what Jesus says and has done. However, that doesn’t negate the need to act responsibly. Honestly, it’s overwhelming and inundating. Please note, this blog is absolutely not a commentary on what medical measures to take, that’s not my specialty and I won’t claim to have an educated stance on the matter. It is, however, an attempt to make sense of the reality that our society as a whole is wrestling with this topic and we cannot avoid it. Do we stock up on food? Do we need extra water? Do we stop attending events? De we cancel trips? Even closer to home, my son had a cold this last week. The what-if thoughts took hold in my heart, and the fear wants to take root. We may all differ on how to respond in preparation, but I believe there are a few key thoughts as Christians that we can apply to our lives.

No part of this pandemic is a surprise to God. He is sovereign and in control, on the throne, and won’t be conquered by anything. That’s also true of His love for us. Romans 8:35, 37 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or, danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life or angels, nor things present or things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Translation: not even the Coronavirus will separate us from the love of Jesus! I need that daily reminder to calm my soul and orient my heart, especially when the fear takes root and starts to grow.

This is also a reminder of both the great freedoms we’ve enjoyed, and how much we’ve been spared from other devastating events. Until now, we have had the freedom to take trips, attend events, and gather together without a second thought. Now, gathering with others is a carefully-meditated decision. Have I ever really stopped to appreciate this? No, and I hope I remember that ability when our lives return to a “normal” pace. On a smaller level, we had a trip planned for months that we had to cancel, a reminder to me (planner Kelly) not to hold so tightly to my agenda and plans, and to be thankful for both the big and small moments, even when they change.

A couple weeks ago a tornado occurred in the middle of the night in Tennessee, reminding me that none of us knows how our days are numbered. This is humbling for me: how many times have I read news stories of hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, and more, and barely paid attention? All too often. Now we’re faced with this pandemic and I realize none of us is exempt from natural disasters or trouble. The Bible says, “a man’s heart directs his steps but the Lord directs his ways” (Proverbs 16:9). Instead of thanking the Lord for each day, I move forward like I control my life. I don’t control my life. I can make plans, but God still directs my ways. 

Where does that leave us? I think it leaves us with the truth. These are uncertain times that require a response. Each of us may differ in what that response looks like, but we need to remember where our hope lies. Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). It’s okay to be prepared. In fact, I think that’s even our responsibility. God gave us brains, research, and the ability to make wise choices. Yet, in our preparation we cannot assume we control the outcome. We must hold this situation with open hands: make wise choices, but trust that the Lord is in control. It’s a time we need to remind ourselves where our hope lies, and that our hope is not in any particular outcome or circumstance. Our hope lies in God, who is the “Alpha and the Omega…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). May we remember our God is in control and has overcome the world, and let our lives be a reflection of that truth, even as we face difficult and uncertain circumstances.