A Response to the Fear of Disease
A missionary once told me, “Sick Happens!” Yes, it does. We believe in the healing work of Jesus in our bodies. Sometimes this healing is proactive and preventative, and other times, it is reactive and restorative. We believe that the prayer offered in faith by those in right-standing with God, will make the sick person well. However, we do not believe that God’s timing is always the same as our timing. Neither do we believe that God is subject to our agenda, but we are to be subject to His agenda and purpose. Just as faith is necessary to appropriate salvation and redemption, so faith is also necessary for the gifts of healing offered through Jesus’ sacrifice.
Every time I open my newsfeed, I am overwhelmed by the concern and even fear of impending doom and gloom. I do not want to minimize the destruction of disease and sickness in our world – if it wasn’t bad, why would Jesus make such a sacrifice that would guarantee our healing? The infestation of viruses is like a plague of locusts – much like the impending day of the Lord described in Joel. It is in these times that the Remnant of the People of God are called to prayer. We should be praying for the sick. The leaders of the church should be anointing the sick with oil and faithfully praying for the infected.
The Church throughout the centuries has always run to the sick, the diseased, the infected, and the affected. This is our birthright, obligation, and responsibility as sons of God. By this Spirit of Sonship through Jesus, we carry forth His ministry of healing to a wounded, sick, hurting, and infected world. We have not been given a spirit of timidity and fear, but a Spirit of love and power. The same power by which Jesus walked out of the grave lives in the Church – in us!
I was asked what our response to the current plague would be. My response, “It will be the same as the Church’s response during the Black Plague.” Those who were serving the sick took precautions, but the Church ran to the sick, not away from the sick. Over 1000 years earlier, a Roman emperor wrote of his annoyance with the Christians going into the quarantined neighborhoods and towns to care for the sick during the Plague of Cyprian.
As we move into this dangerous “neighborhood” I want us to be well-informed about how we should go about living in community with one another.
Principle #1: Consider others better than yourself – looking not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. This is a twofold principle, but most practically, I believe that those who are sick should take care to quarantine themselves, (if you, or your child, have had a fever or have thrown up within the last 24 hours – please stay away). It also means, that healthy people should consider the needs of the sick above their own needs and care for the sick.
Principle #2: Don’t put the Lord your God to the test. Don’t live with a fatalistic attitude; live responsibly. Wash your hands early and often. If you have a cold, don’t breathe on or touch others. Don’t take communion yourself, but maybe have a healthy friend bring it to you. You can still come to church gatherings, just choose to isolate yourself from those around you.
Principle #3: If you are sick, you should call the elders of the church to pray for you. I am personally willing to come to you and anoint you will oil and pray for you to be healed. We are happy to bring you communion and all the sermons are on our website. We are hoping to cast our weekly services via Facebook Live – once we get our technical issues worked out.
Principle #4: Let us not give up meeting together. Jesus said that where two or more are gathered in His Name, that He would be with us. We are committed to meeting together. This is obviously dependent on principles number one and two.
I hope this helps clarify our position as a church in response to any epidemic, plague, or pandemic. We are committed to being the body of Christ and not running from the lepers. This is also a reminder to be wise and prudent as we engage in this ministry of healing.