Three Practical Ways to Make it Through the Coronavirus Pandemic with Your Soul Intact
We've repeated the phrase often over the past several days, “We are in a time most have never lived through before.”
All signs suggest the coronavirus pandemic will get worse before it gets better. We are already hearing about deaths from COVID-19 in our country, which will increase everyone’s anxieties about the virus. Moreover, the grocery stores are already low on items, and this will not be relieved as the concerns of the spread of the virus and the need for quarantine continue to heighten.
What this means is that our faith will be tested over the next several weeks, perhaps like never before in our lifetime. Most of us have never had to worry about the lack of access to food and necessities. This is the time for us to be mindful about our faith in God and our love for others.
We do not want to degrade into a “Black Friday” mindset as we navigate what might be challenging days.
As followers of Jesus, we should be thinking about how we can implement practical lifestyle changes that prepare us for the forthcoming season. Practical lifestyle changes can prepare us to keep our souls intact during our present crisis.
With this in mind, I want to share with you a plan I am implementing with my own family as we prepare for life over the next several weeks. I believe that if we practice these three things, it will help us to express our faith in God in a time of fear as well as help us love our neighbors well.
First, do not hoard groceries.
When we go to the grocery store, we should purchase what we need and leave the rest for others. It is not faithless to purchase necessary items of course, or even to stock up a little, but we do not represent Christ when we irrationally hoard items in a season when others need those items, too. This is the heart behind the early church in Acts 2:45 and 4:34 when they shared what they had with others who were in need.
If we are willing to leave that extra carton of eggs, gallon of milk, bread, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc., that we don’t need, then we can do our part to help slow the hysteria of people feeling like we do not have enough food and necessities. This also is a way for us to express our faith in Jesus to supply for us and our love for fellow mankind, who require food and necessities, too.
Moreover, we should remember to express our appreciation and gratitude to our local grocery store workers. They are no doubt seeing the ugly side of humanity during this time. We can show them the light and hope of Jesus by engaging them with thankfulness for serving the community during this challenging time.
Consider taking donuts to the morning staff, or even writing a thank you note for your clerk with a gift card they can use once this crisis is over. Remember to share that the motivation behind this act is the love Jesus expressed for you.
Next, begin rationing your food.
Practically speaking, you should ration your food as if you need to make one day of food last for two days, if not three.
In other words, eat leftovers.
Doing this will help relieve your need to go to the grocery store as often, which will help keep items stocked for others, not to mention being a good steward of precious food in a time of pandemic.
Prior to serving in full-time ministry I served in management at a local grocery store. The stress our grocery stores are feeling is real. It’s as if the holiday rush came upon us without notice and is lasting indefinitely. We would all do well to ration our food to help relieve the strain upon our local stores.
For those of you with young children, while you do not need to necessarily concern your children with the prospect of running low on food, it is not unhelpful to talk with them about the need to be grateful for our food and mindful of wastefulness as we think about others during this time.
Finally, share what you can.
There are already people who are without some basic necessities because of the recent hysteria, and this need will only increase as the days progress. We need to be people who are willing to share what we can in the way the early church did (Acts 2:45; 4:34). This is an incredible way to express our love for others.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to serve as a Bereavement Counselor for a hospice organization. A large part of my responsibility was helping family members navigate through various stages of grief in the aftermath of losing a loved one. In light of this, there is speculation that we will experience our own stages of grief during this crisis as we lose our sense of normalcy.
These include: (1) awareness but lack of concern, (2) denial, often through humor, (3) concern of the growing crisis, (4) fear and worry, (5) panic, (6) grief and anxiety, and (7) hopefulness for the future.
As followers of God we talk a lot about trusting in Jesus. This trust could be tested over the next several weeks should our sense of security be threatened.
Let’s make God proud as we walk through this time together. We can do this by expressing our faith in Jesus to supply our needs, being good stewards of what He’s given, and making sure to love and respect our fellow man.