If you are like me, you have heard and seen more than enough about COVID-19 to last a lifetime; however, little of it has been religious in nature. So, let me share some thoughts from a Christian perspective. Maybe it will help inject a bit of hope and less despair into the conversation.

The greatest contribution we Christians can offer to bring about the defeat of this rampant disease is that of prayer. For those who scoff, let me ask a question: What else can we do? Most of us have neither the ability nor the resources to combat this thing head on, but we can pray. In fact, we should pray. We should pray for those suffering in its grip. We should pray that those entrusted with the responsibility of giving us guidance shall receive divine wisdom and thoughts they would never have had on their own. We should pray that those in the medical profession seeking solutions shall possess wisdom and discover answers beyond their natural thinking. We should pray that those in the world of economics and finance shall be given the wisdom to know how to alleviate the monetary trauma this plague is generating. Now that God has our attention, we should pray that we will listen to what he says. When we look at the situation from this perspective, prayer is a contribution all Christians can and should make!

An additional way we can all help is that of discipling ourselves to remain calm and not panic. The death of one friend or family member is tragic. Severe illness stemming from COVID-19 is a burden none of us wants to bear. But stop and consider the odds of being made seriously ill by this virus. A friend of mine recently stated that he believes there are tens of thousands already infected by the coronavirus. My response, “Yes. And there are tens of millions of us in this country!” We need to live carefully and cautiously, but we also need to remain calm and not panic.

Another contribution we can make is that of tightening our belt and doing our part. I do not make this statement flippantly or lightly because I realize the economic pain unleashed on many will be disastrous; however, may I kindly remind us that this is not the first time our nation has encountered challenging circumstances? My grandparents endured the Great Depression in the 1930s. My parents knew what it was to undergo the rationing of basic necessities in order to help the war effort in the 1940s. They outlasted it. Though it will affect some worse than others, we will survive this.

I would also suggest that we can help bring this outbreak under control by trusting and cooperating with those who know what they are doing. There are those in places of responsibility who know more than we do and know what they are doing. Sure, this is a work in progress, but we need to trust them (remember we are praying for them) and cooperate with them to the best of our ability.

I am indebted to a colleague who recently encouraged me when he stated that we need to take comfort in the fact that, in the midst of this storm, Jesus is in the boat with us. That, my friend, is our ultimate hope!

W. Jonathan Payne is a retired pastor in The Wesleyan Church who lives in Greenwood. He may be reached at jonandmary@centurylink.net or at 341-6794.