Finding Wisdom in Crisis

I’m not always one to chime in on current events in this blog, but given the historic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t help but share a few thoughts. In the past few weeks as the crisis grows and people try to adjust to this temporary new reality, I’ve noticed something coming from pastors that I have not seen before in the body of Christ: unity. No matter the denomination or theology, I see pastors of every church background sharing the same message, that we must use wisdom but not live in fear. The body of Christ has never been known to agree on much, truth be told. We disagree about almost everything, from how to conduct a service, to who should be allowed to preach, to our understanding of various scriptures. Yet in this historic time, the Church seems to be speaking with one voice: wisdom, not fear.

I believe God is trying to teach us in this moment what it means to navigate the storms of life with wisdom. When we are faced with a crisis, there are many ways we can respond. On one end of the extreme is fear and on the other is apathy.

Somewhere in between these two extremes is where we find wisdom. That means we take a situation seriously, seek God’s guidance and perhaps Godly advice from others, but we do not panic, decide all hope is lost, and begin preparing for the end of the world. When we respond to situations with extreme emotion, or extreme lack of emotion, we typically make bad decisions. In the case of the current health crisis, when people panic they hoard eggs and toilet paper (please stop doing that). When people are apathetic, they minimize the risk and don’t distance themselves from others (please stay home if possible), are not vigilant about hygiene (wash your hands!), and thereby put themselves and others at risk of infection. Wisdom heeds warnings and advice from experts but doesn’t freak out. Both panic and apathy can cause us to lose rational thought. We then either overreact or underreact, and typically neither leads to a good conclusion.

So, we have an opportunity to learn from this. As Christians, we heed warning signs that may be God’s way of giving us time to prepare, but we don’t live in torment worrying about life as we know it being destroyed. That is the place of wisdom, and it is the place of a deeper trust in God. We don’t blindly say “God will take care of me, I don’t have to do anything,” but we also don’t waste energy worrying about things we can’t control. We do what we can, and trust God’s grace to cover the rest. He has promised to always be with us and to give us wisdom anytime we ask (James 1:5).

I’ll end by including Psalm 91, one of my favorite Psalms to pray over myself when the world is chaotic. Be at peace, friends. God is with us and is more faithful to meet our needs than we can imagine!

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”