“Did you know that the coronavirus is in Houston?”

This was the first thing my early arriving Sunday school student said to me yesterday. Normally, his conversations are about shuttle launches and NASA, or a frog that they found in their backyard.

Yesterday, it was all about coronavirus.

He was glad that it hadn’t made it to where they were going on vacation for Spring Break.

It was a topic of conversation among the other kids when they arrived as well. One little girl said, “I just don’t want to die from it.”

A few days earlier, I had recorded a video on coronavirus, my thoughts on the furor, and why I’m not afraid of it.

Social media, Twitter especially, seems to be in a frenzy over the virus and YouTube videos by End Time fear mongers have jumped on the opportunity to hook people in with more views.

So before we started our Bible study lesson on Jesus calling his disciples in the Gospel of Mark, we had a little bit of conversation about the virus and whether or not we should be worried.

The flu virus is with us constantly and mutates every year.[1] When you get a flu vaccine, it is not a vaccine against a common virus year after year, it is a vaccine about what they think will be going around, which is why some years the flu vaccine is largely ineffective. A different strain hits for which people aren’t vaccinated.

The fear with coronavirus is that as it is a new strain, very few people will have an immunity to it. This is true of every year. If you are normally healthy and normally don’t get the flu, it sounds like this virus won’t be much different.

The kicker to me is the hand sanitizer. “Hand sanitizer” was actually a trending search on Google the morning I recorded the video above. My co-teacher said that stores were completely wiped out of hand sanitizer . . . And toilet paper.

Maybe I’ve just lived in Houston too long and have become inured to disasters. A 500-year monster storm barreling down on us?[2] Have lights, batteries, snacks and water stocked up, and we’ll be good. (This isn’t accounting for the SJRA panicking and letting loose a deluge on us[3] . . . But still.)

Viruses are around us all the time. You likely are carrying some sort of virus in your body right now that your immune system is fighting off.[4] The fact that there are diseases shouldn’t come as a surprise, we should be making choices based on that reality on a daily basis. This is why we should be eating healthy foods that build up our immune systems,[5] drinking water rather than soda, taking our vitamins, etc. A healthy immune system is a much stronger defense than waving a bottle of hand sanitizer around.

Have a healthy lifestyle rather than panicking at the last minute.

And I hate to see Christians falling into the trap of this spirit of fear.

For God Has not given us a spirit of fear, but of Power, and of Love, and a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

When we give in to fear, that is our focus. Our thoughts and plans center entirely around the thing we are afraid of.

If you have a compromised immune system . . . Yes, you should take extra precautions. If you don’t, be healthy and be courteous, remembering that there may be those around you who don’t have your health.

But don’t be afraid.

What is the absolute worst that could happen? The absolute worst that could happen is that you could die of the disease.

I know where I’m going . . . Do you?

There will always be some new thing to be afraid of, but we are to put our trust in God. That fear should not dictate how we live our lives.

Go where God leads. Do what God tells you to do.

You don’t want to be standing in front of Jesus on Judgment Day saying, “Well, I didn’t . . .  Because I was afraid I would catch the flu.”

Be strong and mighty in spirit and know that the Lord goes with you.


Notes

[1] “Influenza: Are We Ready?,” World Health Organization, accessed March 9, 2020, https://www.who.int/influenza/spotlight.

[2] Cassandra Pollock, “How Texas Prepared for Hurricane Harvey,” The Texas Tribune, last modified August 24, 2017, accessed March 9, 2020, https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/24/hurricane-harvey/.

[3] “Hundreds of Harvey Victims Join Suit against San Jacinto River Authority,” ABC13 Houston, last modified September 25, 2017, accessed March 9, 2020, https://abc13.com/2433335/.

[4] Honor Whiteman, “Healthy Humans ‘Harbor an Average of Five Viruses,’” Medical News Today, last modified September 21, 2014, accessed March 9, 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282751.

[5] Harvard Health Publishing, “How to Boost Your Immune System,” Harvard Health, accessed March 9, 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.