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  • Writer's picturedave dyrud

A Disciple' Response to the CoronaVirus

Dear friends,

What a wild ride we’ve been on this past couple of weeks! Just a short time ago we couldn’t seem to get away from those crazy political ads leading up to the fall elections. Now the only news seems to be about the Covid-19 virus or the stock market volatility!

Have you found yourself experiencing a little fear or anxiety these days?

Have you wondered if you were far enough away from the man who coughed across the grocery store isle? Have you checked “Market Watch” too frequently, hoping your retirement was still intact? Have you craved a food from a restaurant now closed? Did you formerly work at that same restaurant and now are without a job, wondering how you will continue to pay your bills? Are you one of the many couples planning a spring wedding who are now scrambling because the wedding venues are now closed to public gatherings.

I’m not writing this to bring up scary thoughts, but to offer hope, encouragement and a charge for each one of us!

Why can we have hope and be encouraged during a time like this?

Let’s remember together a few historical events that show us who God is and how He works!

In 1 Kings 17 God teaches the prophet Elijah a couple really important lessons. As punishment for the nation of Israel leaving God to follow idols, God sent a multiyear drought which led to a famine. Drinking water was growing scarce as rivers and wells were drying up. Food would no longer grow in the dry, parched land. Livestock was dying or becoming too weak or sick to be used as a food source.

It’s under these conditions that God instructs Elijah to hide in a place where there was a small stream still flowing and food would be delivered to him by ravens. I’m not sure if that strikes you as odd, but did you know that raven moms have the reputation for letting their own young go hungry and even die so they can eat first? Selfishness at the extreme. And yet God used them to bring meat to Elijah. Eventually the stream dried up so God instructed Elijah to go into the neighboring country, a godless nation, for help. When there, he was to look for a widow whom God had already prepared to care for him. When Elijah obeyed, he found the woman and asked her for some food. Upon hearing the request, the widow told Elijah she only had enough for 1 more small meal for her and her son, then they would die of starvation like many other poor and widowed in that region already had. Elijah assured her that if she obeyed God, He would not let her food source run out until the famine was over. Everyday from that day forward, the jar of flour was full and the oil used to make bread was full, there was plenty of food for all three to enjoy!

The God we know and serve is not limited by our world economy! When the stock markets are crashing and the economy is slowing, God continues to work on behalf of His children. Rather than fearing an uncertain future, we can trust a sovereign God Who loves His children.

Listen to the words of a man who lived during a 13 year plague from 249-262 AD. This plague was killing 5,000 Romans per day! Not a total of 5,000 deaths worldwide, but 5,000 deaths every single day!

Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, reported:

Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves, and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.

The way these early Christians lived during the plague was a picture of complete contrast to those who didn’t know Christ.

Dionysius continues:

But with the heathen everything was quite otherwise. They deserted those who began to be sick, and fled from their dearest friends. They shunned any participation or fellowship with death; which yet, with all their precautions, it was not easy for them to escape. (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 7.22.7–10)

Did you catch what Dionysius observed and recorded in the books of history?

Followers of Jesus moved into the lives of people suffering because of the plague and offered hope in the face of fear and anxiety! Jesus’ values of love and compassion were being lived out by this group of people called Christians in the midst of the community. People within the Christian community were cared for because that is how they always lived!

But those who didn’t follow Christ were abandoned by their communities as people preserved their own lives above the lives of others. These infected individuals and families were left without a home or resources to survive by the very people they knew and loved.

However, the Christ followers of that day couldn’t sit back and watch people being isolated, uncared for and often times left to die, so they went to these people who were outside of their own community and cared for them even at the risk of their own health. Many lost their own lives during this time, but the Christian community saw unprecedented growth as the world struggled to understand what kind of love could motivate such self sacrifice.

In a time of never before seen suffering and anxiety, they were seeing Jesus, and thousands of people were coming to know Jesus for themselves! As the world cowered, the church grew!

Praise God for working in ways that don’t always make sense to us!

As Christians we have the opportunity to reflect the heart of our Father, who sees people and cares for them, keeping in mind that how we live can help change their lives today, AND their eternity tomorrow!

Jesus told His followers,

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more….” (Luke 12:4 NIV).

As uncertain as the next few months may be, we have an amazing opportunity to love and serve people in the Name of Jesus today!

What do we know to be true about God?

1. This pandemic did not catch Him by surprise and He is still in control!

2. He doesn’t need the stock market to thrive in order to provide for those in need!

3. He uses those who already know Him and follow Him to spread His love and compassion to those everywhere!

Rather than letting the uncertainty and volatility of these days cause fear and paralysis, would you consider being a part of the amazing work that God has already begun in the lives of so many? Would you join Tracy and I in stepping into what God might be up to during this season?

We will need to be extra creative because group gathering is now limited for the safety of our population, but there are so many good ways we can stay connected and continue to practice God’s design for community.

Would you consider giving a little more during this time, more than what may feel comfortable…keeping in mind that God doesn’t need our economy to provide for the needs of those in His care, which includes me and you? There are many who might only make it through this season because of our compassion and extra financial help.

Would you join Tracy and I in trusting God in this season and praying for unprecedented growth for His church as people turn to the only sure and secure source of hope!

If you need any ideas or resources to help you stay connected and invested in the communities God already has you in, please reach out to myself or Tracy and we will make sure you have what you need to see “God do more than you can ask or even imagine” (Ephesians 3:20-21) during this turbulent season!

I have many resources here on the "Resource" page of this blog that you can download to use if you find them helpful. I can also point you in the direction of many more if you let me know what you might need!

May each of you experience God’s love in these trying times and may you be spreaders of that love to many others!

David and Tracy Dyrud


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