Pandemic Survival Guide

We are in the midst of a global crisis. People are afraid, discouraged, anxious. The challenges before us are not just physical, they are mental and spiritual as well. While we have a myriad of sources speaking to how to avoid contamination and infection physically, and how to combat the mental strain of prolonged isolation, where can we turn for instruction on how to not only survive but thrive spiritually during this time.

“our God is in the “hope-giving” business”

I know the idea of thriving in adversity seems contradictory but when we read our Bibles we can’t help but notice that thriving through adversity is a theme that is threaded throughout its pages. The Bible is the world’s only source of inspiration and instruction on how to come through difficult times of adversity, better for it. What the world needs now is hope and our God is in the “hope-giving” business. (Psalm 31:24)

The Bible is not a cluster of random stories, it is an instruction manual for just such a time as this. Take your Bible out, read it and challenge yourself, to stay encouraged in the Lord (1 Timothy 6:6). Familiarize yourself with hymns and praise songs. They are essentially poems, set to music, not unlike the Psalms. There is a wealth of encouragement to be had within their pages.

The following suggestions are made that we can come through whatever the pandemic brings us with peace.

Ground Yourself in Your Faith Daily Psalm 119:11
Have a time set apart. Just as we set apart regular times for meals, it is imperative that we allow ourselves time to engage with the Holy. Remind yourself of what you believe. Read, or better still, memorize and recite the Apostles’ Creed. It holds the basic tenets of our faith, cherished by
generations of believers. Sign up for daily devotions. Get a devotional book to guide you in your set time. There are many excellent resources available to us, use them to your faith’s advantage.

Practice the discipline of Praise Psalm 67:3
In your time of devotions, it’s important to relate to Our Heavenly Father all that makes us fearful, disappointed and concerned in these uncertain times. He already knows, but He wants to hear from His children! Then, thank Him, for safety, for rest, for His provision. Thank Him for nature and how it continues, largely unaffected by the diseases and foibles that plague mankind.
Outside I can see birds still making nests in anticipation of new life, and butterflies flitting from flower to flower. The sun, moon and stars continue in their courses. Nature lives in anticipation of transformation. These are meant as examples to us, reminders that ours is an orderly world at its core. Look for ways/things/people/activities that you are thankful for each day and mention them to the Lord, in genuine gratitude, frequently.

Plot a Course Proverbs 29:18
No navigator begins any trip without knowing where he or she is going and the path they’ll take to get there. So should we, plot a course that we will follow, in order to reach our spiritual destination. What do you hope to accomplish during your time in this turmoil? Do you want to be more compassionate? Do you want to cultivate a grateful heart? Do you want a closer relationship with your Father in Heaven or a better understanding of the purpose of the working of the Holy Spirit in your life? WRITE IT DOWN. Journal about your progress. Set yourself goals, (memorization, reading a particular book, learning to pray) and then set out the steps it
will take to get there. This is an excellent time to glean the Spirit’s fruit of faithfulness. Set daily, weekly, monthly goals. Without a purpose for this time of isolation and sickness, it begins to feel very random and out of control. While there is much we can not control about the world’s
situation, our response can be chosen and measured.

Exercise Contentment 1 Timothy 6:6
This goes hand in hand with the discipline of gratitude. It is impossible to be grateful and resentful at the same time. Work toward contentment. Practice letting go. Let go of your own idea of what life is supposed to look like. Let go of our Pre-Pandemic ideas of normal and accept that life is fluid, changing all the time. When anxiety comes, make the conscious choice to recognize that change is hard, but a natural part of life, and let the anxiety go. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1Timothy 6:6)

Celebrate! Philippians 4:4
Yes, you read that right. Play praise music on your device or radio or television. Recognize your victories and celebrate them! Continue to recognize milestones (birthdays, anniversaries) with phone calls or letters. Let people know you love and appreciate them. Thank the cashier, the
mailman, the delivery person, the first responders, medical personnel, clergy. Reconcile. This is how we celebrate the people and events in our lives. Even in the midst of chaos, there are people on our side, doing their work and making life easier for us. Let them know you appreciate them.
Make Sunday’s special, in your own way. I bake on Sunday’s since our mandatory isolation has begun. Treating my family in this way, lifts my spirits and theirs and sets the Lords Day apart from the monotonous routine of the rest of the week.

Commune with Others of Like Faith Proverbs 27:17
We need other believers more than ever in times of adversity. We strengthen one another. Tune in to broadcasts on the television or radio. Skype, Zoom, Meet, use the tools available. We can text, call or email one another. Christians are born for community.

Redeem the Time Ephesians 5:15-16
There are so many times and ways that we pause each day. Washing our hands or brushing our teeth or shaving our face. We wait for coffee to brew or the microwave to ding, we wait for the mail or a phone call…these need not be times spent in anxious worry. We can train ourselves to take that time to offer a brief prayer of praise or contemplate the Divine. The prayer that should never be far from our lips is, “Let me be found faithful, O Lord..” (1Corinthians 4:2)

Keep Death in its Place 1 Thessalonians 4:14
The devil’s greatest lie is that death is eternal. As Christians we are taught that death is but a passage from life unto greater life. There is more to our existence as human beings than what we see and experience here in on this earth. Death is not an event to be feared by the Believer. Pray for peace, comfort, safety and freedom from unreasonable fears.

Search for these (and other) topics that encourage:
Stories of Great Deliverance
Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5
The birth of Christ
The Resurrection story, first Easter
The story of Pentecost
Read through the Psalms
Search in your concordance for verses with the words:

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

** the word “catholic” here means “universal” and encompasses the Church, without separating borders and nationalities.

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