As soon as the news of COVID-19 hit the airways, bible teachers began vigorously broadcasting and preaching about end-time events. Social media played a role by providing an all-you-can-eat buffet of information to digest about dealing with the crisis. A new term emerged from the pandemic (Social Distancing), and the slogan has become a strangely familiar term to people around the globe.
When Americans saw the impact on Italy and China, we agreed to shut our society down and wait for a brighter day in hopes of a vaccine. We anxiously watched the news to learn how the CDC and government officials will protect against the growing pandemic. The answer: Shelter in Place. We agreed to shut our schools down, businesses down, and even to some degree, our churches closed. Labeling has been implemented where businesses and other enterprises are branded, either essential or non-essential. Being labeled non-essential burst the balloon of the American dream for many. Their hard work and investment in society were brushed aside like a waiter wiping crumbs off a table. Ironically, there was an agreement to shut down, but now there is a division on re-opening the country.
One of the patriotic elements that made America great is our freedom to debate and wrestle with ideas. For well over 200-years, Americans have been able to discuss a topic by analyzing, observing, and scrutinizing issues. The American initiative worked this way to examine better ways to build toward the future, all the while improving current conditions, and we did it TOGETHER!
However, things have drastically changed to some degree. A dissenting view is no longer accepted as viable communication. To disagree means your character is flawed, you are insensitive, ignorant, or just plain radical.
How has all this impacted church life? Is there room to run together, or is our Christian race only an independent one? Can we find mutual ground in a crisis without being decisive? While it is true that Christians will stand before God and give an account individually to God (Romans 14:12); there is, however, spiritual teamwork taught in the Bible—“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17.) The Proverb implies mutual benefits when two minds come together to find strength and wisdom. I did a quick search on the word “together” in the Bible. My search revealed 484 matches in 469 verses. Needless to say—God wants us to do things together.
Where do we start mutually working together in a crisis?
- We start with Prayer
When a crisis strikes, many Christians will look to scientists and doctors for help, never once falling on their knees in prayer, asking God to intervene. We have been fooled into thinking that prayer is a religious formality, and only the fields of medicine and science can provide answers. The Apostle Paul reminds us of the power of God in prayer by stating: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). God is able! Yes, during a pandemic, God can provide solutions to meet our needs! However, He will do nothing until we begin to pray and exercise our faith in Him. The writer of Hebrews said: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
- We start by Seeking God’s Glory
Jesus said: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”( Matthew 6:33). All the necessities of life will be added to us as we diligently seek to promote and publish the glory of God in the earth. Instead of your prayer life starting with your finances, fitness, or future, begin with a concern for the Father! That is, be more concerned about God’s name being published more than worldly pleasures. In many ways, COVID-19 has hindered the work of missions and missionaries. Since God placed the Great Commission on us to go into the world to reach others with the gospel (Mark 16:15), we need to pray for His glory to be revealed in the earth. You can pray: “Lord, for the sake of your glory and your name being published throughout the earth, I ask You to take away this crisis. Give us an opportunity once again to declare your glory throughout the earth.”
- We start by Loving One Another
The New Testament records 13 times in 12 verses to “love one another.” Loving one another entails the ability to love without compromising your spiritual integrity and the authority of Scripture. With the presence of the Holy Spirit residing within the believer, God Himself has taught us to love one another (Romans 5:8). What does it mean to love one another? Dr. John MacArthur argues: [L]oving one another means serving one another in humility. It is not primarily an emotion, it is not primarily a feeling, it is primarily a sense of dutiful responsibility, sacrificial service, humble sensitive caring. Loving one another is not just a calling to do something but rather to be something—the body of Christ.
Missional Until He Comes,
Dr. David Sampson
 John F. MacArthur Jr., John MacArthur Sermon Archive (Panorama City, CA: Grace to You, 2014).