One day, back in December we began to hear about a new virus that began in China. This virus was new but in my world here in Washington it seemed far away. It would be contained and my life would not be too affected by it. Then my daughter in laws sister flew back from the states from Shanghai, where she is working as an elementary music teacher for a private school. She starts receiving emails informing them that all the schools in Shanghai have been closed and her time off has been extended. She was due to fly back on February 7 and she is still here in the States, becoming and online instructor for her students. This started making this virus a little more real, and a little closer to home. Still no real concerns, praying for those affected, but admittedly not too seriously. I found myself laughing as the news began talking about toilet paper hoarders and the E bay people selling hand sanitizer for $56. Still praying and of course washing my hands! I made plans to attend a women’s conference in Maine in two weeks. My flights are scheduled and my plans are set. People are asking me–are you still coming? To be honest, I am still planning on going–but I am waiting to see where things stand next week. People over 60 are being told to stay home and avoid crowds. My daughter told me that in Italy the doctors are having to decide which patients to treat–and are thinking only those under 60. Wow, that lets me out! That makes it a bit more real.
We are now in the second week of March. Washington state has 29 deaths and over 1,000 people diagnosed–but only one confirmed case on our island. Our community college is closed for a few days, our library has canceled outside programs and our pastor is meeting to discuss cancelling a women’s event scheduled for this Saturday. How do we know how to respond to this unknown plague?
First of all, we must walk in faith. We cannot let fear overtake us in any way shape or form. Every action or decision must be done in wise faith however. Back in the first century it was the Christians who stepped up and help during some of the worst plagues that swept through Rome and other parts of Italy. By their actions they actually caused the spread of the gospel. They did not let fear for their own lives stand in the way of helping others. I am not hear to tell you what to do. You must seek God and His wisdom for yourself and your family. But there are things we can do to share God’s care and love.
What can you do? Pray. Pray for your leaders to have wisdom in what to do as far as their authority goes. Pray they are getting wise counsel. Pray for those affected to be healed and for their families. Do not over react and stockpile things that are not needed. Be balanced in your actions. Wash your hands, and again wash your hands!
Pray and support our medical community. They are on the front lines and need support, not criticism. They are risking their own health by taking care of others. It is what they signed up to do, but still it is difficult.
In our state, schools are closing for a season. There are parents who must still work, check in with them to see if you could help them with childcare.
Do not panic. If you choose to self-quarantine, do it in faith, not fear. Pray for those who are trying to keep the supply chain going–grocery stores, gas stations, post office workers etc who do not have the ability to “work from home”.
Pray for those shut in. Let’s pray for those in assisted care facilities who are being isolated from visitors for their own protection which leaves them alone and at times frightened. Give them a call if you can. See if they need anything. Help meet those needs, as you can.
Washington state so far has the most cases confirmed in the U.S. Our leaders are implementing decisions that affect all our lives–physically and economically. I know that God has a plan to use every scenario for His good and plan. As we pray for our leaders and those affected across the world let us release our faith and compassion for those that are affected. Let’s pray for those trailblazing scientists who are actively working on a vaccine to combat this virus. Let’s pray for wisdom for every church leader to know how, if and when to restrict meetings and services. I know there are some people who are compromised in their health and thus at higher risk of greater complications if they contract the disease. Pray for them.
Pray for those in Italy, including American troops who are serving in that area. Some were supposed to rotate back to the states soon. Unfortunately the situations there are putting those dates on hold, affecting their families back here. Please pray for all military personnel and their families.
Build your own health by eating and resting. Drink your water! Most of all, trust that God knows the end of this story. Trust Him. Ask Him how He wants to use you. Put on the armor of God that you may be able to stand, and when you have done all still stand.
Father, protect my friends. We stand on your words in Psalm 91, trusting in your care and provision.