If you haven’t yet heard, the whole world is currently on standstill as nations battle to keep their people safe from the spread of the coronavirus. Thousands of schools have been closed, shops and various business are on lock-down and life is a strange reality particularly in isolation. For the last 2 weeks, the United Kingdom has been practising social distancing, our church and many other institutions have been advised to close down for the foreseeable future.
In these uncertain times, I have remained relatively indifferent and somewhat frustrated at the closure of so many businesses. I have struggled to grasp the enormity of this unparalleled situation and have stared down the empty shopping aisles with dismay: As the world panicked I just could not relate.
Worship groups and leaders were now encouraging people to recite and personalise Psalm 91, as fear began making its entrance into many Christian households and greater was the need for peace.
“I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust… though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you”Psalm 91: 2,7
Through all this, I could not relate. I had no fear, I knew and I still know that God is King over all situations and whatever may be taking place, He has seen the end from the beginning. So why be concerned? However, I’ve recently began to think that as someone who represents Christ on this Earth should I remain this apathetic and indifferent to others’ afflictions. This change in thought came with the revelation that someone close to me is currently in affliction because of this virus.
This revelation made me ponder, at what point should I start caring about others? At what point will I start demonstrating compassion? Is it now or when everyone around me is standing at death’s door? I may have full confidence and faith that God is in control and that the shadow of the almighty is the place where I find my refuge, fear is not a part of me, but, what about others?
I am reminded of Hezekiah in 2Kings 20:13-21, in this scripture King Hezekiah shows all the fortunes and wealth of his kingdom to foreigners and is reprimanded by God, for in doing so Hezekiah had opened the doors to the Babylonians who would in a future generation invade the nation. However, for Hezekiah, he was not concerned as the consequences were not going to directly impact Him so long as there was ‘peace and security during my lifetime’ (2Kings 20:19) why be concerned about others. When death knocked at Hezekiah’s door ‘he wept bitterly‘ (20:2) and prayed for his life to be spared but when it concerned people, not in his timeline, he was indifferent. It is easy to not care when it is not your life affected.
Indifference is not an option
As Christians, we are not called to be indifferent, even when our own lives are perfect. For we are to be compassionate, show love and mercy to all, we are called to be active in our faith and not passive. In Ephesians 6:12 it says “for our battel is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavens”. We are in spiritual warfare, remaining complacent and indifferent is like entering a warzone with nothing but a cardboard sword, we are soldiers and warriors of the Highest, singing praises and acclamation of God’s greatness into the war-zone, we walk not alone but with the backing of the heavenly army. But, if we are not unified and only consider our well-being then we make our fellow soldiers vulnerable to ‘the flaming arrows of the evil one(6:16).
As a soldier, I must take up my armour and fight in the place of prayer. Fight so that God’s people are not afraid, fight so that key decision-makers are granted divine wisdom to address shortages in medical supply, fight for new ideas to help and support others facing affliction. I can not wait and neither can you till death knocks on our doors, we must fight and fight with the full confidence and authority we have in Jesus Christ.