The coronavirus continues to cause widespread social, political and economic disruption around the world. As cases continue to increase, many have questions on everything from how to protect themselves and their loved ones, to travel restrictions, to when and where to go for testing.
But Christian leaders are encouraging believers to remain calm and exercise faith over fear.
Christian Rapper Lecrae quoted Isaiah 41:10 on Instagram which reads, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
He added, "Exercise wisdom, take precaution, this is a broken world, but do not let fear rule you. Trust in God who is not overwhelmed."
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Fellowship wrote in an article for Fox News, "I am a pastor - not a politician or a doctor - so in times of uncertainty, I look to Jesus' words for comfort and guidance. He said, 'Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid' (John 14:27). Jesus knew that fear paralyzes us and hinders our ability to respond effectively to the challenges of life."
While Laurie is telling Christians not to fear, he is not downplaying the serious threat of the coronavirus.
"Fear about the coronavirus and COVID-19 are not unwarranted nor to be taken lightly. Lives are at stake," he said.
As the global pandemic continues to spread, the CDC is warning Americans to avoid large gatherings, including church.
With that in mind, Laurie announced on social media Friday that his church will not be meeting in person this weekend but will instead stream services online.
"We're not going to be meeting in our buildings," Laurie said. "Now obviously this is in light of COVID-19, the spread of this coronavirus."
Joel Osteen's massive Lakewood Church has also decided to go with online services only, acknowledging the "public health emergency declaration" by Houston's mayor.
It’s one thing to be grateful when things are going your way, but when you have a song of praise in your heart when every circumstance says you should be depressed, get ready for God to show out in your life.
Click here for #DailyInspiration -https://t.co/mZDEyhD9q5
— Lakewood Church (@lakewoodchurch) March 13, 2020
And popular Bible teacher Beth Moore, who often preaches to thousands, is also heeding the advice.
"It would be a mistake for us in Christian circles to disregard the warnings about large gatherings," she tweeted. "If the thought is, 'We're the church. We'll do whatever we please & God will protect us,' He does not protect the proud. He opposes them. We are not snake handlers. We're servants."
It would be a mistake for us in Christian circles to disregard the warnings about large gatherings. If the thought is, “We’re the church. We’ll do whatever we please & God will protect us,” He does not protect the proud. He opposes them. We are not snake handlers. We’re servants.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) March 13, 2020
She added, "God is about to wean all us celebrity Christians off our lethal addictions to crowds. Ready thyself for the withdrawal of thy lifetime."
God is about to wean all us celebrity Christians off our lethal addictions to crowds. Ready thyself for the withdrawals of thy lifetime.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) March 13, 2020
Evangelist, author and actress Priscilla Shirer also weighed in online saying, "You don't need a crowd to be in ministry. Keep serving. Keep honoring God. Keep loving people. The most effective discipleship has always happened one on one."
You don’t need a crowd to be in ministry.
Keep honoring God.
Keep loving people.
The most effective discipleship has always happened one on one.
— Priscilla Shirer (@PriscillaShirer) March 13, 2020
Meanwhile, Laurie is encouraging people to prepare for the threat of coronavirus both physically and spiritually.
"Am I in a right relationship with God? Maybe you grew up in a church and walked away from your faith or maybe you have never considered God at all," he said. "Right now, is the time to do that. Jesus died on a cross 2,000 years ago for you and me to give us hope and life not only for now but for eternity. If we turn to Him, we can confidently replace fear with faith."
Did you know?
God is everywhere—even in the news. That’s why we view every news story through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust. But it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money to do what we do. Help us continue to be a voice for truth in the media by supporting CBN News for as little as $1.