Discipleship & the Coronavirus: Lessons from a Pastor (Part 1)
This is part of our series, Discipleship & the Coronavirus, featuring posts written by GABC members on what God is teaching them during the coronavirus pandemic.
You may read the entire series here.
Many years ago, in a Biblical Counseling class, I remember Paul Tripp saying, “No one talks to you as much as you do.” What he means is that we are constantly having a conversation with ourselves about what is going on in life, what we believe about it, and how we feel about it. We are continually discipling ourselves through how we talk to ourselves. In other words, we are always preaching to and discipling ourselves through this “self-talk.”
An Excellent Question
An excellent question to ask ourselves during this pandemic or any time of crisis is, “What is the message we are preaching to ourselves?” Over the next few days, a few members of our church are going to blog some thoughts about living through the pandemic. Our goal is to redirect your mind to God, His Word, and His gospel. We want to stare intently at our Savior, whose horrific death on the cross is our confidence in any crisis. We hope that as you read these blogs, you hear encouraging words from your brothers and sisters in our body. We trust that their words will help you preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to yourself. We also pray that as you hear the gospel preached to you from others in our congregation, we can disciple one another during the pandemic.
My concern during this pandemic is over two viruses that are going around. The first is the novel coronavirus. It is a deadly-serious virus that, as the experts tell us, spreads easily. The other virus is deadlier and spreads even easier than the coronavirus. That virus is fear.
I know many of us are glued to the news these days as the coronavirus rages. There are more than enough experts giving opinions and statistics on what the virus does, will do, and has done. If you are like me, after you listen to these reports, you have a knot in your stomach. You look around at your family, and you fear for them. You think of your loved ones and church members whom the virus can kill, and you fear for them.
I completely understand. After all, many news reports of fearful things, usually happening somewhere else in the world. We hear the stories, feel bad for them, and we might even pray for them. But much of the time, their crisis does not affect us. Not so with the pandemic. Everyone in the world has been affected by this. You are sitting at home right now because of the fear of the spread of the virus. It has disrupted our daily lives. Many of us are trying to work at home. Some of us who can go to work find our normal routines disrupted because not everything is open or available. I am writing this in Louisville, preparing to officiate Alex’s wedding on Saturday because her college has been closed. Regardless of our work situation, we all hear constant reports about the virus. We are hoping for a breakthrough and an end to it all.
In addition to the biological fear, there is financial fear. How will we make money? How will we live if our work, our businesses, our livelihoods are shut down? These are all legitimate concerns because both the biological and financial fears are real.
What Should We Do?
Brothers and sisters, I am not saying to ignore what is being said. I am not saying the concern over the virus is not real. I am not saying to not take precautions. We need to keep up with the news and be wise about what we do, but we need not be controlled by the virus of fear. There is one whose voice we must listen; it is His words we must preach to and let shape our hearts.
Tomorrow, in Part 2 of this post, I will offer a few suggestions for feeding your heart with the truth and loving your neighbor as yourself.