The Way of Christ in a Global Pandemic

We are tired. We are tired of the coronavirus. We are tired of hearing about it, thinking about it, and reading about it. And while some places are loosening restrictions, others are still significantly locked down. And no matter what our situation, we are tired of so many things. 

We are tired of putting masks on our faces in order to leave our houses. We are tired of normal activities like grocery shopping suddenly becoming our one acceptable outing for the week. We are tired of being isolated in our homes. We are tired of not meeting together to worship. We are tired of Zoom meetings with their inevitable technological blips. We are tired of living in the midst of history. We want all of this to be history.

And yet, still, the situation persists.

In fact, many experts talk about those two words we try to shut out of our ears—“second wave.”

And none of this is made easier by the widespread opinions being shouted from people’s fingertips onto blogs, Facebook posts, and news articles. There seem to be a thousand different opinions about this thing, and two thousand different responses to each opinion.

And the truth is, no one really knows.

That’s an unpopular way to think about it, because everyone likes to think they know what the truth is—and proclaim it boldly.

And, you could point a finger straight at me. By writing a blog post about this, aren’t you just adding one more opinion into the melee already swirling around the internet? Yes. I am.

And let me be very clear. I do not have all the answers. I may be wrong.

I think we all need to remember to ground our opinions in humility. My way of seeing it may not be right. I may not be “speaking truth” after all.

But we know the Truth. He is with us, among us, inside us.

And with all the other voices we are listening to, have we taken the time to listen to His?

The church has become divided. And the church has become antsy. Deep within us, something is crying, “This is not the way church is meant to be.” And we’re right.

What will history say about us when all of this is behind us? Will the church be known for her service, her Christ-like response, her humility, and her suffering love? Or will she be known for her loud complaining, her clinging to rights, and her propensity to post articles about conspiracy theories?

We do not like to suffer. Many of us have not known what it is to suffer.

And dare I say—most of us still don’t.

I don’t know about you, but my loved ones are not dying because of coronavirus. I am not working in an essential service and being asked to endanger myself—or my family—in the process. I am not living in an abusive home, where every day is a living nightmare. I am not working in the stress-saturated environment of health care, with all of the extra requirements and regulations. I am not being asked to relay last words from a dying patient to their family and friends. I am not caring for people who keep dying, no matter how hard I try to save them.

I am being asked to say at home.

And when our worlds have suddenly become so small, sometimes our perspectives narrow until all we can see are our own injustices—insignificant as they may be.

If we dare to take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on the true suffering happening all around us, it ought to change us.

Jesus was clear. He said we will be asked to deny ourselves. But He also told us how to respond—and it isn’t by chafing against our hardships and trying to do everything possible to avoid them.

The way of Jesus has always been about suffering love.

And the way of self has always wanted to run as far away as we possibly can.

But here’s the thing. We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves. In this situation, maybe that looks like healthy people being quarantined so those who are at risk can be protected. Is that too hard for the people of Christ?

We are called to pray for our leaders and respect their God-given authority. And there is no caveat in Romans 13 that says, “unless they make the wrong decisions or seem not to have your best interests in mind.”

We are called to take up our cross and follow Christ. Right now, that cross looks different than it ever has before. But a cross of social distancing is still a cross. Are we committed to carrying it? Or do we pick it up and put it down, only carrying it when it is convenient for us?

We are called to give generously to those who are suffering financially in these difficult times. We are called to reach out in creative ways to the abused, depressed, and lonely. We are called to believe that the legitimate suffering of abuse, poverty, and mental illness around us is not going to be solved through a government mandate, but through Christ’s people being His hands and feet. We are called to be people of hope, not of despair.

And even if the worst-case anti-Christian conspiracy theory is actually true—this virus was specially constructed in a lab for the express purpose of shutting down churches and starting a world-wide persecution of Christians—Jesus has direct words for us, too. And they are not “repost truth bombs on social media and get angry at anyone who disagrees.” They are “love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.”

Yes, we are tired. This has been a long fight.

But I wonder, in myself, if perhaps my weariness comes because I’m fighting the wrong battle.

I should be wrestling in prayer, looking diligently for ways I can offer life and hope to others, and expending my energy in being like Jesus in every opportunity He is placing before me.

How easily I have forgotten that Jesus told us this would happen.

“In this world you will have trouble. But I have overcome the world.”

Let’s choose the way of the Overcomer. The way of suffering love.

Meghan Brubaker lives in Yatton, Ontario with her wonderful husband Travis. Her profession/passion is teaching her class of wonderful sixth-graders. She loves being creative, whether it is through teaching, writing, or other hobbies like playing the piano or experimenting with word art. She loves to take delight in the small things in life, like the rosy clouds of a perfect sunset or finding a dew-laced spider web. Most of all, she desires to live fully by loving God and others deeply.  

5 thoughts on “The Way of Christ in a Global Pandemic

  1. Pingback: The Way of Christ in a Global Pandemic – Site Title
  2. Thank-you for this Christ-centered word in the midst of many loud and misguided voices. I appreciate your call to live as Christ would live in this moment.

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  3. Meghan, thanks for the post and the time you put into this. I appreciate the clarion call to sacrifice, follow Jesus, pursue life for others, and give ourselves to prayer. We, as Jesus people, should be the most confident, most alert, most alive, most human people that can be found in a troubled world.

    My caveat/nuance to your perspective is that I struggle to see loving our neighbor, being fully human, and being engaged in the hurting as clean cut as just staying home or wearing masks in an attempt to protect the physical health of elderly or vulnerable others (who may prefer risk with relationships over loneliness). I hear from others, and feel myself, that not all the pushing against government restrictions or medical advice is self-centered; for many there is deep and legitimate concerns about quality of life, emotional trauma, long-term impacts on children’s emotional stability, and much more. I don’t have all the answers in how this looks, but we as God’s people are the only ones who hold the ability and the values to show the world what it means to be fully human. Government and institutions don’t value that. I think we need to be careful to hold to our calling to call others into communities of abundant life and be careful that our actions don’t give power to corrupt values that drive the systems of the world. I guess what I’m saying is, we need wisdom beyond ourselves to wade through this because evil thrives on making things chaotic and complex. 😀

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    1. Kenneth, thank you for bringing out this angle of the discussion. As I was writing this article, I definitely felt my lack of ability to explore all the angles of this nuanced topic. Because of that, I chose to direct the calling mostly to those who are chafing against the restrictions because of boredom, inconvenience, or frustration about “our rights” being violated–and breaking social distancing rules because of it. I only took the time to briefly mention the fact that we are still called to reach out in love and compassion right now. I am glad you brought this up in the comments–it could be a whole post of its own!
      I agree with what you are saying–we are called to do more than simply stay at home or wear a mask. We are told directly in Scripture that we are to reach out in love to those who are suffering around us. We are also told directly in Scripture that we are to respect and obey our authorities. Right now, it takes a lot of wisdom and creativity to know how to hold both of those things! I think if we demand that the answer to the suffering around us is for the government to reopen the country, we are underestimating what God can do. We each need to look around us and seize the opportunities we’ve been given to reach out while still not rebelling against the authorities. Of course, this will look different in every situation!
      Again, thanks for bringing up this perspective! It’s an important angle of the discussion!

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