This weekend, pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California encouraged his congregation to replace fear over the coronavirus with faith.
“I think the viral fear about it may be worse than the virus itself,” Laurie said in a three-minute video posted to Instagram. “And we need to think about it for a moment. And we need to pray about it.”
He gave three “P”s to help his church located in the West Coast state with the highest rate of diagnosed patients:
1. Be Practical
After talking to several doctors, Laurie said that members should be smart about protecting themselves from the virus. Washing hands with soap and for a long time, as well as avoiding touching the face, can help people avoid the virus.
2. Be Prayerful
“We should pray for our church; pray for our nation that God would protect us. And the Lord can do that, he can put a shield around us.”
He added, “And we want to pray for anybody who has it, that they may heal.”
3. Use as Proclamation
He also shared with his congregation that the virus can be an opportunity to share the gospel. Because many communities are fearful of the virus, Christians can tell others about the hope and peace of Christ.
According to CBN News, Christian pediatric infectious disease specialist Scott James has encouraged his patients with similar advice.
“One thing that does cause me some concern is the general tendency to focus on the unknowns in a way that stokes panic and fear,” he said.
“Instead of fretting over potential catastrophes, pay attention to the opportunities that are right in front of you: take care of yourself, take care of others, and do your part to limit the spread of disease.”
As the CDC has warned Americans to prepare for the spread of the virus, James says, “Preparedness simply means we will seek to inform ourselves of the situation and to make responsible choices for our own good and for the good of our communities … [We should maintain] a biblical perspective based on the understanding that no matter what threat is on the horizon, God is still in control. Trusting in God equips us to take the threat seriously without giving into panic or despair.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/David McNew/Staff
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.