More than managing the COVID-19 Climate
By now you’ve heard it all. From conspiracy theories of germ warfare to the bizarre situation of a lack of toilet paper. From tightening up our hand washing and sneezing habits to precautions of social distancing, to panic shoppers and attitudes of ‘it’s just another flu’.
What we probably haven’t heard so much, is a reminder of who we are in amidst all of this.
I’ve witnessed colleagues go from thinking that ‘people will be over this next week’ to a sudden shock of ‘if I don’t join the panic shop, my kids and I will be left without food’.
I’ve heard families say, ‘what if they start choosing who they treat based on likelihood of survival? My immune compromised child won’t make the cut’.
I’ve heard from the elderly ‘they’re telling me I’m just a number who has already lived and will die anyway, so it may as well be by this virus’. While these concerns may raise our heart rate, if there is one thing it screams loud and clear it’s this, ‘EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!’
How did we get here?
Simply, we have forgotten who we are… and instead bought into FEAR. That never ending lie that time and time again finds a way of creeping into our minds and hearts. We tell ourselves that fear of the virus is natural almost like a fear of deadly snakes. We fear the harm or immanent death that may come from a snake attack. But can we honestly say that all our reactions are as a result of a fear of the harm of the virus alone? That this is purely the problem? I think not. A lack of toilet paper, pasta, and sanitary supplies is NOT going to kill us. So, what are we actually fearing? EACH OTHER.
Panic buying isn’t because the virus is going to wipe out the supplies. Panic buying is because we fear that everyone else is going to buy out the supplies. What does that breed?
We don’t trust each other to do the right thing.
As the majority buy out the food stores, the minority are left questioning if they did the right thing, and fear has a go at them as well.
How do we return to a place where we can trust the goodness of humanity again? Well perhaps it’s not so complex for us to say… return to being another Christ in this world. Literally WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). Okay maybe not literally because Jesus might just walk around healing people or perform a miracle of loaves and fishes for us all. But ask him what you can do in every given moment to act more like him, but more important than acting, ask Him to show you to BE like Him.
Be his hands and his feet (Teresa of Avila), and his words of comfort.
Clothing the poor and feeding the hungry (Mat 25:35-40), these works of mercy have never been more important than now. Virtue is not about giving when you are comfortable-
Virtue is about doing what is right, what is true, good, and beautiful ESPECIALLY when it’s tough and challenging,
on every level: physically, emotionally, psychologically, when your heart feels like it’s tearing, aching for the pain and suffering you witness. In that moment, You ARE CALLED TO VIRTUE, because Virtue makes you more like Jesus, the son of God who is love. Virtue is satisfying and freeing, and you were made to be LOVED not chained to anything, and certainly not to fear.
Purchase what you need to care for your loved ones but remember there are others who also have needs.
Christ is in that elderly woman who is about to turn into your aisle and see you walk away with the last 2 packets of toilet paper. What call will you make?
Christ is also in the woman who appeared so rude for bumping into you and saying ‘move it’ as she watched you pick up the last two hand sanitisers. What call will you make?
You may not have fed or clothed Jesus in that moment, but did you in a sense give him the coat off your back (Mat 5:40), if so you cared for him as you participated in his work of mercy, and he will remember you in Heaven for this moment.
If you’re thinking, ‘that sounds nice but I don’t think of these things until the moment has passed’, a quick tip.
Set yourself a goal.
If you know that when you walk into that store you’re going to get caught up in the whirlwind of getting whatever you can as quickly as possible, take some time to breathe, slow down your heart rate OR release that energy in some way like walking to the store instead of driving, or jump on the treadmill first before you go shopping. When you walk in, set yourself a goal to ensure that by the time you’ve walked out you have done 3 good deeds. Whether that be letting someone else go first, sharing what you find with someone who was also looking, or simply give eye contact and a warm smile towards someone.
Fear not. You are a son/daughter of the king. Your God is Sovereign. Hello, have we forgotten this? Since when do royals fight over toilet paper or stock up their trolleys full of canned food? Fear Not. Take precautions, follow your local authorities’ advice, but do not forget who you truly are and whose image and likeness you were made in.
I know, I just know, with every fibre of my being, there are saints in the making here and they’re not all in the hospitals as doctors and nurses during this time of panic and suffering. They are also in our shopping centres, in the fruit and veg shop, they’re in the neighbours who slip a note or call up to say ‘Hey, I know you live alone I just wanted to see if you were ok, do you have what you need, we have some spare _____ I can leave at your door step’. Those who, in the name of Christ, choose to care for the dignity and worth of another, above their own comfort and fears are being moulded into modern saints in this very moment.
Now is the time for Christians to stand up and model firmly what we have been called to share for centuries.
When this fear and virus has passed let not the world think back and wonder where the Christians were.
Remember, Our God is a God of love, he is sovereign, King of the universe, and we, his children are made in his image and likeness. His way brings interior joy, he gifts us with peace. By being like him, giving of ourselves when it’s hard, when it’s terrifying, we show the world that the Christian life (in relationship with Jesus) is in fact THE WAY; the way of Virtue, the way of Courage and of True Joy.
No Virus can infect that.
My love and prayers assured,
Stina was born and raised a Norwegian and completed her Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Social Work in Australia. She is the former Young Female Ambassador for Wagga Wagga, NSW. Stina currently works with both separated families as well as supporting families with children diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses.