How to Respond to an Outbreak: Prayer and Planning

by Mar 11, 2020

How to Respond to an Outbreak: Prayer and Planning

by Mar 11, 2020

These are stretching times.

We know that God is sovereign over all creation. As Isaiah says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure or weighed the mountains on a balance and the hills on the scales?” (Isaiah 40:12). Enormous and uncountable things — like waters, heavens, dust, mountains, hills, and viruses — are all under his control. As R.C. Sproul once said, “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”

God has a purpose for allowing this outbreak. He’s helping people around the world see our weakness, lack of control, and dependence on him for everything. As Paul said to the Athenians in Acts 17, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” This is an opportunity for us to remember that, which should drive us to passionate and desperate prayer. We depend on God for our protection and provision.

At the same time, we need to be prudent and make plans. As Solomon said, “A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). God uses our preparation as part of his sovereign plan.

That’s why our church is offering pre-packaged communion elements during our church service and individually-wrapped food during our ohana time. We’ve got hand sanitizer around the building. We’re washing every kid’s hands when they arrive at class. We’re doing extra-diligent disinfection before and after services. We’re encouraging people to give fist-bumps instead of handshakes or hugs. We’re asking you to stay home from Sunday worship and community group if you or your kids are sick. 

After consultation with an infectious disease specialist, the elders have decided to suspend Sunday services after the first case of coronavirus that was likely caught in Hawaii (rather than brought here from somewhere else).  At that point we will livestream our Sunday services on the Internet.

On top of that, we’re planning practical ways to bless our neighbors if life in the islands gets turned upside down. We don’t want to run away in fear, but run toward opportunities with courage and hope. As Paul said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

God allows Christians to experience painful crises so we can experience his comfort, then turn around and offer the same comfort to the people around us. Let’s keep that in mind over the coming weeks.