In April 2020, a self-help guru I was following renounced all his beliefs (escaping 9-5, travelling the world, becoming rich etc.) and became a born again Christian.
Before he got saved, he was very successful with lots of money (7 figures), lots of knowledge and a strong opinion over any topic.
He had a very successful blog called Bold & Determined and had read every book you can imagine on self-help and entrepreneurship.
Classic self-help books like Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich or Sun Tzu’s Art of War were his own guidebooks.
Despite 10 years of being successful and reading these types of books, he changed his attitude towards life completely when he encountered Jesus.
And among all other things, he also renounced all these many books he had read (or even wrote himself) by calling them useless and satanic.
So, for him the holy Bible had become the best book in the world.
That radical change made me so curious, that I decided to read the Bible myself.
So, I started reading the Bible, but as it usually happens the Bible read me instead.
The global pandemic that had started a month earlier helped me a lot on taking this decision, as there was enough free time for me to spend at home during the lockdown.
It took me 6 months to finish this huge book from cover to cover (4 months for the Old Testament and 2 months for the New Testament).
And while reading it, I started observing changes in my attitude and personality.
I started to become humbler, more forgiving, and compassionate. I started listening to others more and not persist so much on my strong opinions.
In the end I also became a Christian by accepting Jesus Christ as my savior and got filled with the holy spirit.
Love, forgiveness, caring for others
Being a Christian during a global pandemic helped me face this unprecedented situation in the best way possible.
In this article I will focus on how myself and other Christians are able to cope with the pandemic when most people have struggled immensely.
The center piece of Christianity is love. 1 Pet. 4:8 says:
Tight close to love is caring for others.
How can you love and care for others though when you stay home and can only meet few people?
I did this in two ways:
- By calling or texting people more than usual
- By praying for others
I went through my phone catalogue and my messaging app text history and looked carefully to find whether there were people that I had lost touch with.
I wrote down a list of people I wanted to contact over the following weeks, to reach out to them, ask them how they were doing and give them some words of encouragement.
James 5:16 says:
Doctors and nurses are without any doubt the heroes of this pandemic and deserve most credit for healing people.
God can heal people too though, through prayer interception.
True Christians should use every moment to intercede for the sick and dying, for the medical services, for the government, for fellow Christians, and for those who do not yet know Christ.
So besides praying for my close loved ones, I thought to include the heroes and the victims of the pandemic in my prayers.
That gave me the sense of participating and helping with the situation despite the lockdown at home.
Take one day at a time
I finally learnt to focus on the present.
If you have read previous articles from this blog you may have noticed that I used to focus on a lot in the future.
I was telling you to work hard and smart to become rich and one day buy freedom and get closer to happiness.
While preaching that goal of financial independence, however, I was sacrificing my present.
Luckily, the Bible opened my eyes on this topic through Apostle Paul who wrote the following verse:
So now I focus on giving thanks for the many blessings that I have received today.
How are these Christian values related to COVID-19 though?
The measures imposed by governments mandate to stay home: no shopping, no going out to eat, to movies. No making plans or worrying about money.
A pandemic is a perfect opportunity to slowdown. A time of rest not only for God’s creatures but for the land. (Already air pollution is down in many parts of the world).
A time for God’s distracted and self-absorbed creatures to remember that we are first and foremost recipients—and not the creators—of all that is good in our lives: the land, rain and sun, family, friends, work, and most of all God’s grace and provision.
Cling to Christ
The center piece of Christianity is Jesus Christ the Messiah and virtually all modern scholars agree that he at least existed historically.
Christians take this a step further and believe the gospel, which is in (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and says that:
- Christ died for our sins
- He was buried
- He rose again the third day
- According to the scriptures
So, around 2000 years ago Jesus, who was God manifested in flesh lived on earth and was nailed to a cross to save humanity for its sins.
The Roman executioners started with the terribly brutal act of flogging. Then they drove spikes of 13 to 18 cm long through his wrists and feet that caused excruciating (literally means out of the cross) pain.
Then when Jesus was in this vertical position he started to push up on his feet, to ease the tension of his muscles and try to breath.
He was repeating this until complete exhaustion took over and finally died from asphyxiation.
Why am I mentioning all these details of his death?
While I was reading these details in the book the Case of Christ (it is also a movie), Dr. Alexander Metherell’s medical analysis of the crucifixion shocked me.
So, Jesus lived a sinless life and suffered one of the worst deaths anyone can experience.
And why did he do that? To save humanity. How?
Jesus saves Christians believers through faith on what he did. And this leads them to the kingdom of heaven.
Still, what all these have to do with how I cope with the pandemic?
When I think and believe what I mentioned above about Jesus then I cannot really be sad and complain about not being able to go out to bars and clubs to drink with friends.
Have no fear
Jesus himself in 1 John 2:15-16 said:
In other words, there are 2 mutually exclusive objects of love:
- Love towards the world and the things that are in the world (e.g. lust, pride, drinking alcohol, going to bars, going shopping)
- The love of God
In this case I choose to love God with all my heart and not care about the things of the world that I am missing because of the pandemic.
The opposite of love is fear. And the pandemic has brought fear to many people. They mainly fear 3 things:
- To go outside
- What the future is going to bring to them
- That the virus may kill them or their loves ones
The Bible through psalms 91 gives us 3 encouraging verses on this exact topic of a pandemic disease (aka pestilence).
Can I cope with the pandemic forever?
Can Christianity solve all of my issues during a pandemic?
No... I am still an expat away from my home country for 6 months now.
Still God through his word in Provers 27:8 reminded me why it's natural to feel homesick: