How to handle fear and news in light of a pandemic

  1. Share

Depending on which news source and which day, it may appear as if the world is ending. Amidst this crisis (or the next one), how do we respond internally to what is going on around us?

What should be our response as those who follow Christ?

Although there is plenty of guidance out there on the handling of this pandemic, one area we wanted to walk through is what is this doing to our soul, how should we respond both internally and externally, and what role Jesus might be asking us to take.

A verse that has been helpful to me during this time is Isaiah 41:13, “I am the Lord your God, who takes you by the right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’”.

Everyone who has a relationship with Christ Jesus has a direct line to wisdom, strength, courage, and hope regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. We have put a few of our thoughts together below, but please know that if you go to Him, there is wisdom and direction for the days and weeks ahead specific to your situation (James 1:5).

First, spend some time in listening prayer

Take a few moments each day in the quiet of your house or car to create opportunities to give your soul some rest. If you are like most of us, you go from moment to moment with hardly even 15 minutes for lunch. The isolation required of today allows us to take a moment to pause... take advantage of it! Give yourself some room to pause, pray, and listen each day (even if it is just one minute in your car before you go into work or enter your home... take some deep breaths and allow a quiet moment to align yourself to God). Ask for wisdom, understanding, and peace that surpasses understanding.

Second, release this to God

There is a phrase popularized by John Eldredge lately where he simply prays, “Jesus, I give everyone and everything to you”. Repeat that a few times when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Practice benevolent detachment by releasing patience, tragedy, or strong emotions to Him. Consider Matthew 11:30 and ask how Jesus might lighten your burden during these stressful times.

Third, consider your response

We are called to be light and salt to this world. There are neighbors, friends, family, co-workers, and community members who are completely freaked out and afraid during this time. Additionally, the necessary action of socially distancing ourselves will add to the fear, despair, and loneliness of those around us. Find practical ways to love and be light during this dark time. Consider even small actions, like texting neighbors, making a meal/cookies for them, or just letting them know that you are thinking of them.

Check in on neighbors, especially those that might be isolated. If you feel like taking additional steps, consider inviting them to dinner, board games, iced tea on the porch, etc (follow CDC guidelines though!). Even if you want to sit 6 feet apart on your back deck to minimize contact, any socialization will feel like light in this dark time. Be smart about your actions, but also recognize that this is an ideal time for Christ followers to help lighten others burdens, ease their fear, and help share the hope that we have... and last we checked, viruses don’t spread via phone calls or text messages, so even small steps can be meaningful. :-)

Wherever your heart may be these days, remember that we have someone who created us and formed us before we had taken our first breath. Perhaps, like the tribe of Issachar (I Chronicles 12:32), we can be a people who understand the time and can see the path ahead. Or perhaps like Esther, we can consider where we have been put into our jobs, neighborhood, church, community, and family for “just a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

Most of all, during this time of isolation, know that you are never alone. Although the road before us is difficult, there is someone we can rely on for strength and understanding. Remember the promises of God, and, as appropriate, share that hope with others.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Blessings on you as we journey together and lead others toward health in the weeks and months ahead.

This is just one post of many we'll be doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.

Comments

To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

0
Mission Trip Leaders: 8 ideas for engaging your leaders
One big mistake we often make as leaders is putting all the focus on our staff and forgetting that we have an army of extremely “bought in” trip leaders. Shift gears and instead, think of your leaders as more than great people who lead your trips but people who can carry your vision forward. To participants and field partners, here are some suggestions on how to engage your trip leaders to a higher calling:  #1 Equip them. Remember, they might be your greatest tool for mobilizing your audience to mission. Help them become better recruiters, mobilizers, and senders.  #2 Encourage and gift books. There are so many great mission books (When Helping Hurts, The Great Omission, Shadow of the Almighty, and so on.). Consider having an annual book you purchase and send out to all of your trip leaders to continue building their own personal mission philosophy and worldview.  #3 Appreciation meals. Host appreciation meals for your trip leaders to pour into them, keep them connected, share what’s new and upcoming, and to allow them to build a tighter community with each other. Spread these out throughout the year to avoid the “see you next summer” mindset that some trip participants and leaders may accidentally fall into.  #4 Provide trainings. Host at least one annual trip leader training. Whether it's by video or something else, the most successful we’ve seen is for organization to have a time where you stop thinking about everything else and focus on your larger purpose for mission trips.  #5 Brainstorm sessions. Host brainstorms sessions throughout the year (especially out of peak trip season to keep leaders engaged) and collect feedback on ways to do things better: preparation, process, communications, resources, debriefs, and more.  #6 Give note & gifts. Sure, giving gifts for a volunteer role may not be the norm, but think creatively about this. Sending a note card and a $5 gift card to Starbucks to say thanks for all they are doing goes a long way.  #7 Recognize the work. While trip leaders may be working with you on the direct details of a specific trip, they are often mentoring and connecting with their participants long after the trip. Be sure to recognize and thank them for continually pouring into the people.  #8 Invite to team meetings. Invite trip leaders to key team or staff meetings when you are working through short-term logistics, strategic changes that impact them, and/or celebrating key things.  You have a unique opportunity to equip and send so many people. We often fixate on the trip participants and forget what amazing resources we have in our trip leaders. More so, these trip leaders really can essentially be your pro bono staff members giving you an army of equipped mobilizers.  Action: Select at least one item from above that you can implement this week. Maybe it's having a zoom call over coffee with a few team leaders and asking them what they need most to be equipped well.    This is just one strategy of five (5) we have for doubling your impact. Download all five (5) strategies you can implement immediately that will double your missions impact.   This post is written by Will Rogers. Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of ServiceReef.
0
Mission trip cancelled? How about repurposing the trip to fit this current crisis?
Is your missions trip cancelled? Cancelling (or even rescheduling) your short-term trip may not be the only option. It’s worth considering if there are other options like repurposing the trip into something local (actually, this post works regardless of if you also cancel or reschedule the trip). It all comes down to the original purpose of the trip and working to extrapolate from that trip its purpose. Let’s take for example a Youth Trip or Vacation Bible School (VBS) trip in Poland. The heart behind the trip is to engage high school students in a VBS program and have them engage well with younger kids and help make the program a success. Now let’s see where we might be able to take that same group of high school students and engage them now or in months to come in a similar purpose. You could have those high school students working to creatively build things for local kids to do while they are in a quarantine. You could have those high school students reaching out to family with young kids to see if they have any needs during this time. You could have those high school students sign up for a local VBS-type program this summer You could have those high school students reach out to local teachers to ask what they are doing to help parents and see if they could help.   It’s really quite simple if you stop to think back about the original purpose and goal for the trip and then mine out a means to do that locally. Truth is, many people are quite bored and your creative ideas here could both help engage your participants and help a lot of people in your local community.   This is one post of many we're doing related to the current crisis. Download Cancelled: A Guide to Maintaining Missions Engagement When Your Short-Term Trip is Cancelled.