3 Ways to Share God’s Hope During the COVID-19 Crisis

The world has fallen into panic as COVID-19 sweeps the globe. In only a few months, the virus had recessed whole economies, infected over 290,000 people, and stolen over 12,900 lives.* In response, governments have taken drastic measures to turn the tide, and the world has been swept into a whirlwind of anxiety.

It’s impossible to avoid seasons of pandemic and disaster. No one can stay nature’s hand. But how can we share God’s hope in fearful times like these? In this article, I want to suggest three ways:

1. Demonstrate God’s peace
2. Address the transience of life
3. Proclaim the safety of eternal life in Jesus Christ

Demonstrate God’s Peace

First, we can share God’s hope in crisis by demonstrating God’s peace. God has offered every believer an unshakeable rest:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)

In this hour, as the whole world seems to rail in fear, we must push into this promise more than ever. While others panic, we must pray. While others trumpet disaster, we must trust God. While others expect the worst, we must hope for the best. Many call Christians “the conscience of the nation.” In this hour, we must act as the nation’s lungs, helping those around us to breathe in deep and trust the Creator Who never misses the sparrow’s lighting on the ground (Matthew 10:29).

Think of it. As quarantines advance around the world, thousands of parents are shelled in with their unbelieving children (and vice versa). Think how many rebellious teens are now stuck at home who previously spent most nights out with their unbelieving friends. Think how many now must develop relationships with family members they once avoided. Even if you’re not quarantined, you’re living in a terrified world. COVID-19 is a thick, dark fog upon the Earth— but it has presented a golden opportunity to shine God’s light. We must not neglect it.

As your family and friends reel in fear with the news on loop, don’t fear to draw away and enter God’s presence. In fact, make sure you do, for your sake and theirs. A home can fill quickly with the smoke of anxiety and worry, causing greater conflict between its members. You have a reservoir of peace to draw from which your unsaved family members know nothing of.

As we seek to witness to loved ones in this time, let’s remember Jesus’ poignant words, so powerfully applied to the home:

“[No one would] light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).

In this chaotic time, let your demeanor reveal God’s goodness. Obey Jesus’ call: “Come away . . . to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31 NASB). Then carry His rest into the home. Let God light your candle with His peace in the privacy of your room. Then keep the candle shining in the living and dining rooms. Let your peace become “the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NASB).

Address the Transiency of Life

Now, let’s discuss how to share God’s hope verbally in a time like this. In Colossians 4:3, Paul prayed: “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3 NIV). Right now, God has answered that prayer on a massive scale. Everyone is talking about death, which gives a powerful and natural door to discuss the problem the gospel solves—the transience of life.

Think about it. Shortly ago, most of the population lived without a care. In the West, most lived by the famous motto — “Eat, drink, and be merry!” But now, we’ve suddenly remembered the second half of the phrase: “Tomorrow we die!” Yes, the whole globe has suddenly realized the transience of life.

And the world is reeling at the revelation. Humanity has always sought to escape the bad news. We see it in the Old Testament, when Israel ran to prophets of false comfort. We see it today, as the masses mock God’s Word. But right now, you can’t escape the bad news. Every day we hear about more cases of the dangerous illness. Death tolls rise from morning to night. So many people are wondering — “Will I join that grave statistic? Will Coronavirus take me or a loved one?” And whether they admit it or not, millions have begun to think about eternity. Millions have begun to ask, “Where will I go when I die?” This is a crucial opportunity for the gospel.

In light of this sudden mass alarm, I encourage you to look for God’s heavenly conversation cues throughout the day. Soon, someone around you will mourn the death rates around the world. Why not use that as an opportunity to discuss the brevity of life and the urgency of salvation? There’s plenty of ways to do this, but I’ll recommend a basic approach that anyone can use.

When a loved one begins to talk about COVID-19’s death toll, look them in the eye and graciously address the reality of death. You might say:

“I know—it’s so hard to believe so many have died so fast. It reminds me that we never know when we’ll die. I keep thinking about how we need to prepare for what happens after death. If you died today, where do you think you would go—to heaven, hell?”

When they respond, kindly ask, “Why do you give that answer?”

The Bible reveals how most will respond: “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness” (Proverbs 20:6 NKJV). I can only tell you my experience: when I’ve asked this question, 9 out of 10 people have said, “I’m going to heaven because I’m a good person.” When our loved ones answer in that way, we need to point them to God’s standard of goodness—God’s law.

How? You might say something like this:

“You and I might be good by our own standards. But on the day we die, God will judge us according to His standard of goodness. Romans tells us what that standard is: “The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12 NIV). That’s what God will judge all of us by. Jesus said, “The word I spoke is what will judge [humans] at the last day” (John 12:48 NASB). Do you think you’ve kept God’s law, found in the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ words?”

Then, graciously review the Ten Commandments and some of the Sermon on the Mount with them. Humbly reveal that you have broken each law, and ask if they have broken them too. Remind them that God is a righteous judge who never fails justice. Then plainly address the reality of death, asking them again:

“Now, when God judges you by this law, will you be innocent or guilty? As a result, will God reward you in Heaven, or righteously punish you in Hell?”

This may seem uncomfortable to you—but it’s not as invasive as you feel. If you present the truth in a loving way, most people will feel your concern and appreciate your desire for their eternal wellbeing. And if they don’t, does it really matter? Are you called to win friends, or preach the gospel?

Truth is, you’d be shocked how God uses this simple approach to awaken others to their need of Christ. “The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24 NASB). You want to lead others to Christ? Be willing to address the transience of life using the law of God.

Proclaim the Safety of Eternal Life in Jesus Christ

Finally, in this time of insecurity and fear, we can share God’s hope by proclaiming the safety of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

I explained how to use God’s law to reveal the transience of life and God’s righteous penalty thereafter. But we don’t want to leave the lost reeling in their sin—especially in such a moment of crisis. Sure, we want to pull away every false security so our loved ones see their imminent and eternal danger. But then, we have the glorious privilege to share God’s hope found in the cross of Jesus Christ.

There’s plenty of interesting ways to explain what Jesus did on the cross, but I’ll share my favorite here. I’ve probably used this illustration hundreds of times, and the Lord has used it to turn the lights on for many.

When we preach the law, we put our hearer in God’s courtroom. We establish that they—just like us—have broken God’s laws, and that God can’t release them from their penalty without satisfying justice. Remember, a judge can’t release a proven criminal because of supposed “good deeds;” nor because of his own mercy. Neither can God merely “forgive” sinners because of the good things they might have done. He is the righteous Judge of the Universe—if He doesn’t judge rightly, the Universe can only fall into chaos, anarchy, and injustice. “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25 NIV).

Then how can we be saved, considering we’ve all broken God’s laws? How can the judge justly forgive the guilty? There is one way. If someone pays the criminal’s bail, the judge would have no choice but acquit the criminal of their prison sentence. Pay the fine, and the judge can knock his gavel, lift his voice, and announce, “Your debt is paid—you can go free!”

And that’s just what Jesus Christ did for sinners like you and I. We committed the crimes, and Jesus paid the fine. The sentence of God’s law was upon us; the flames of Hell wisped at our feet. Then,“at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6 NIV).

Yes, on the cross, Jesus received the full penalty of God’s law so that we could go free from God’s eternal prison. As Isaiah the prophet foretold:

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).

After Jesus completed His sacrificial work, He lifted up His voice to declare the result: “tetelestai” — “Paid in full!” (John 19:30). Now, all who believe in Him can receive total forgiveness of their sins.

But the good news provides much more than divine forgiveness (an eternally lovely blessing in itself). When we receive Christ, not only does God forgive our crimes—He receives us into His family and recreates our hearts. Not only does He free us from Hell—He prepares an eternal home for us in His presence (John 14:3). He rescues us from the dominion of darkness and transfers us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). He transforms us from God’s enemies to His reconciled friends (Romans 5:10). And He welcomes us into a worldwide spiritual family heaven-bent on changing the world for God’s glory. What amazing news. Why keep it in?

A Crucial Moment in History

Christian, I’d remind you of something. Right now, billions feel unsafe. They’ve ignored the fear of death for years—but now death stares them in the face every time they turn on the television. Many are wondering what lies behind the last smokey veil. They need our witness more now than ever. Driven by fear, they might even listen more than ever.

Let’s not miss this excellent opportunity to share the safety we have in Jesus Christ. To those who receive Christ, even death is a gift—a mere portal into eternal life, for “all things are yours, whether life or death or the present or the future” (1 Corinthians 3:21-22 NIV). Let’s pour God’s eternal hope into the vacuum of fear and despondency. Let’s pour the glorious news of eternal life into a world on the brink of death.

If we do, we may witness one of the church’s finest hours; a moment of awakening after decades of decline. If we don’t, it could become one of this generation’s greatest missed opportunities. It all depends on one thing—will we share God’s hope, or hoard it for ourselves?

The choice is ours.

*Statistics collected on March 23, 2020, from WHO.

 
 
 
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JJ Weller is a writer, researcher, editor, and creator for Message Ministries and Missions. He has served in evangelism through Message Ministries for 6 yearsthrilled to preach Jesus’ salvation to thousands and teach biblical evangelism to hundreds. He has a passion for God’s glory, the true gospel, biblical evangelism, biblical and historical revival, and the salvation of the unreached. He lives with his beautiful wife, Cynthia, in Lima, Peru. 

One Response to “3 Ways to Share God’s Hope During the COVID-19 Crisis”

  1. Peter Wohlfelder says:

    Good message and good work you’re doing in IHS Kingdom!!– Blessings my brother in Christ

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