I’ve been hesitant to post this thought, but it’s time. How should the followers of Jesus respond to COVID fears?
Should our reactions be like those who have no faith? The obvious answer is that there should be a variance, but in practical application, it’s hard to see. The fear of sickness seems to have exposed an uncertainty of faith in many. I say this not to criticize anyone but to call believers to the essence of their identity. We are called “believers” because we are identified as those who believe what God has said. What has God said about sickness and healing?
Having this discussion with a friend recently, I asked if they felt that Jesus would have worn a mask. He replied, “of course, He would.” Then I pointed to the passages in which Jesus violated the social distancing laws regarding lepers in His day. Jesus broke the law and touched the lepers. Of course, leprosy is far more deadly than COVID. Jesus, the embodiment of healing power, had no concern of falling prey to sickness. In fact, while standing before the doorway of a friends’ tomb, He claimed to be the “Resurrection and the Life.” This friend of His, might I point out, died of an illness. Another question comes in response to the “What would Jesus do concept.” Can we expect to walk in the same supernatural ability Jesus did concerning healing? Can we expect to walk in the same righteous nature Jesus did? If we cannot, then what does His atonement and indwelling Spirit give to the believer?
In his classic work, Christ the Healer, F.F. Bosworth unravels the truth of how our salvation and healing are given equally in Christ’s death and resurrection. Just as we can be assured in our salvation by faith, we can step into an assurance of our healing and health. The key to this living reality of experiencing health is found by persistently standing in faith for health. At times this faith is needed most in the face of sickness. Just as many believers struggle with the security of their salvation, we should not find it strange when believers battle in the assurance of their healing that Christ has provided. Just as Jesus’ voice unfolds salvation to us, we should be guided by His voice in our health. My friend Chad challenged me with his recent post saying, “If the thoughts Satan brings to your mind are lies, what do you think the symptoms are that he brings to your body?We are in a fight, and we cannot fail by believing Jesus’ power of life was limited only to a spiritual metaphor. His healing power was and is a physical reality. In the same context of healing life, we are told the “same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Where is the disconnect? If the very life of God lives in you, then how can you live plagued by the fear of sickness and disease? Could it be that it is easy to understand the claim of Jesus but difficult to appropriate His healing in our lives?
A couple of days ago, I was at a local coffee shop. In light of their mandate to wear a mask, I slipped on the paper mask I had as I walked into the shop to pick up my mobile order. As I talked with the barista, my mask slipped about a quarter of an inch below my nose. I didn’t think to pull up it up until another customer, who was standing a good ten feet from me, belligerently demanded that I pull up my mask. I was a little startled by her commanding order and said, “excuse me?” She proceeded to freak out as her paranoia increased in volume. I quietly turned, grabbed my coffee, and left as she continued cussing me out. “Wow, that kind of paranoia cannot be remedied with a maks,” I thought to myself. I probably should have taken the time to hear her reason for overreaction, but I was unprepared for such hostility.
The COVID pandemic has done one thing; it has betrayed a deficiency of reason in the world and faith in the church. It has exposed the ease by which masses within and without the church can be swayed by the loudest voices of fear and control.
This post is not intended to shame those who desire to wear a mask or disdain the use of one. I write this to deal with the pandemic response of fear, which has undeniably gripped our way of life. If you want to wear a mask, then go for it. But doing this as a response of fear will lead only to more fear. If you don’t wear a mask but do it in fear of losing your rights, then fear is still at the root of your decision making. We are not called to live in fear but rather in faith. Everything we do should be done in faith. (Romans 14:23) Faith is a response to what God has said. What is God saying to you about this pandemic? Have you heard His opinion? From His insight, you can find peace and strength to battle the fear of sickness and disease.