How To Spiritually Prepare For COVID-19
How are you preparing for the outbreak of COVID-19? Maybe you have activated your epidemic plan and you have enough rice, pasta and mince to last until Christmas. Or perhaps you have taken a laid-back approach and you are now are scrambling to find the basics in the shops. If you’re anything like me, the upheaval of your normal life and routine has unsettled and shaken you. As I have hunted for toilet paper and struggled with working online (hello, Zoom!), I have found that it is easy for my focus to shrink to what is right in front of me. Yet, it is more important than ever before that I continue to live by faith and not by sight.
Swap the news for the Bible
What are you reaching for first, the news or the Bible? I have found myself reaching for my phone as soon as I wake up to google ‘coronavirus australia’. When government advice is changing so rapidly, it is enough to turn anyone into a news addict. Yet, so much of the news cycle is repetitive, endless speculation. More often than not, I come away anxious rather than informed. God’s word is a far better guide. The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:
“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” (v. 15)
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (v. 103)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (v. 105)
What a great treasure we have in the Bible! As we read it, God points us beyond ourselves and instead to the great hope we have in Jesus. This is a hope that is eternal and unchanging, an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19). One way I am trying to ‘fix my eyes on your ways’ is to read the Bible first in my morning over breakfast, before I let myself consume news or Facebook. When you next go to switch on the TV or reach for your news app, why not read God’s word instead?
How to start
If you have never read the Bible for yourself or if it’s been a while, start somewhere easy and familiar. When I am in a rut, I find it most helpful to go to a book I already enjoy reading, rather than trying pick up my where I left off in Leviticus. You could begin to read through the gospel of Luke with a friend and text each other what you are learning each day. If you and those who you live with are now working or studying online, you may have more time together. What a great opportunity God has given you to grow in patience to read the Bible as a family or as flatmates.
If you would like to read something alongside the Bible, there are some great resources out there. Here are some:
- Daily Reading Bible by Matthias Media: https://matthiasmedia.com.au/products/the-daily-reading-bible-volume-1
- Explore Bible Devotional app by Good Book Company: https://www.thegoodbook.com.au/explore-app
- For the Love of God, by D.A. Carson – if you really want to sink your teeth into the Bible! Available here: https://www.bookdepository.com/For-Love-God-v-1-D-Carson/9781844745067, or for free on his blog at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/devotionals/read-the-bible/exodus-36-john-15-proverbs-12-ephesians-5/
- Table Talk by Good Book Company: this is for families to do together, https://www.thegoodbook.com.au/daily-bible-reading/table-talk/
- A piece of a paper and a pen: this is my favourite resource. I like to follow the Swedish method and write down what stands out to me, any questions I have, and what it means for me today.
Or if you prefer to listen rather than read, you could try an app like Dwell which has many recordings of the Bible read aloud: https://dwellapp.io/
Some of us have more flexibility and discretion with our time. Others of us are facing more stress, whether it is on the front lines as a health care worker or home schooling our children. No matter our circumstances, the best thing we can do is to soak up God’s word.