Fear has become the operative word for many in our world today. For those who listen to the never-ending news broadcasts, fear can quickly become panic. I have personal viewpoints and opinions, everyone does yet when I am responsible for leading I also must think about what is best for the group.
- Caution and compassion should drive our decisions during difficult times. As a pastor when debating whether to close the church because of snowy or icy conditions, the people I was always most concerned about were the elderly. They are the most institutionally loyal of our constituents, and if we were having church they would be there. A few times services were canceled to protect our people from themselves! I believe that is the case we are presently facing. We must remember the most vulnerable people.
- There is always a chance things are overblown. Given the human tendency toward exaggeration, that is always a possibility. Even if everyone is giving in to hysteria, this hysteria has infiltrated the culture and to totally ignore it and not address it, seems to display a tone-deafness that is likewise not helpful. If things are really not that bad, then we will be back to normal quickly.
- There is a chance it is as bad as reported. If this is the case then preventive actions will help to protect people. At this point, no one really knows.
- Whatever you do you will be criticized! This is one of the by-products of being a leader. Criticism is a fact of life. The same folks criticizing your decisions today will be the first in line to criticize you if you made a different decision! When you are tasked with responsibility for a group you must prayerfully process and think through all of the implications regarding action or inaction. Benignly ignore the critics for the moment!
- This is a time to Trust God! The Psalmist reminds us: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Be prudent yes, become a fearmonger no! My hope is not in politicians it is in the Lord. Pray for all the politicians even the ones you did not vote for! Ask God to give our leaders wisdom and strength. Pray for the people on the front lines: medical personnel, first responders, those working with children and the elderly, those in education and social services and many more. Consider how you might assist the people who have temporarily lost their jobs because of cancelations.
One can trust God and still act prudently and help our people and communities deal with the situation and offer positive actions and attitudes.
This is a time for believers to demonstrate not only their faith but civility and kindness as well!
Be safe and be confident “God is our refuge and an ever present help in time of trouble.”
Be safe and be strong!