There is nothing easier than posting false claims on social media to stir up and cause alarm and confusion. Christians should not be gullible but thoughtful and rather bring everything they hear or read to the scrutiny of common sense, the Bible and a correct understanding of our times. This is very applicable to the current Covid virus and its many conspiracy theories as well as various other claims made by sincere believers. Many of these claims are made in the name of Christianity but they are alarmist and often contain an element of hysteria.
In the light of this I offer the following thoughts.

1. Remember we are not being persecuted for our faith because of government resolutions. Rather it is an attempt to protect us from infection. We may not agree with all the rules but as Christian believers
we should be careful about our response and how we speak. We must not make false accusations again those whom God has raised up to rule us. We may indeed disagree with all the precautions and even think
some are unnecessary, but we maintain respect toward our authorities, and we watch the way we speak.

2. Remember also that the government is caught between a rock and a hard place. They must keep the economy going as best they can and at the same time, they must keep the people safe. It is inevitable their plan will not be perfect and indeed it might be inconsistent. We may hear lots of people grumbling about government inefficiency and there maybe elements of truth in that. But I would not like to be in our government’s shoes. Would you?

3. Be careful of individual ideologies or personal political preferences in what we read. We should also be on our guard against conspiracy theories. Not everything that appears on social media or whatever is

4. To disobey the government in this matter is to court trouble. It may seem clever and heroic at the time, especially for some churches who wish to continue meeting. But if you or your congregation falls ill you will need to be treated by the same institution you defied. How humiliating is that!

5. Above all remember you are a Christian you should think and behave as a Christian even though lockdown makes things difficult. Beware of anger, depression and a host of other problems you may have been
dealing with before lock down becoming merged with your lockdown syndrome.
Remember too there are thousands of others in this same position as you and indeed some are worse off than you may be.

6. Bear in mind there is a bigger picture. First remember that the virus is God’s virus, and He will accomplish all He wishes to do through this pandemic. This does not mean that God is not compassionate and merciful, but we need to bear in mind that there might well be an element of divine judgement in this pandemic against a world that has rejected Him. I do not mean to suggest that everything that goes wrong is a judgement, but I do mean we should remember who God is.
Secondly remember that in spite of the pandemic many are becoming
Christians. Even in wrath God always remembers mercy and people are hearing the Gospel and responding to Christ in ways and in numbers we cannot count.
Thirdly this virus is giving us two very important opportunities. The first is that in our solitude God is giving us the opportunity to face ourselves and our values and ask ourselves hard questions. Am I a believer in the God of creation and His son Jesus or not? The second is that if I am indeed a Christian what can I do, even if I am solitary, to reach out to someone else? Are you doing nothing or trying to do something?

7. Formulate a plan for each day. You may of course have your own personal program but if you don’t and feel that you are languishing in depression then may I suggest the following.

1) Remember that in spite of everything you are loved by God. Your loneliness and struggle is not saying “I don’t love you” but rather “I am with you in spite of your struggle. Will you continue to trust me?”

2) Set a daily routine. You have heard this before, but it really is necessary to keep order in your life.

a) Get up at the same time every day
b) Have breakfast – very important
c) Make your bed. This sounds ridiculous but for those suffering
from some form of depression it is very important. An unkempt
house leads to a sense of disorder and depression.
d) Do some exercise
e) Read your Bible and say your prayers.
f) Do your household chores. This is very important even if it seems
g) Contact someone and if possible, pray over the phone with them.
h) Read a book
i) Have lunch
j) Go to the store
k) Exercise again
l) Have supper
m) Relax for the evening. Watch your TV
n) Say your prayers
o) Go to bed at a regular time more or less.

I know this all sounds childish and prescriptive, but these simple tasks are what many people are not doing, and it only makes them more depressed, sad and lonely if they are alone. The more disorderly your life becomes the more pointless it seems. Of course, what you do during the day may be completely different depending on your circumstances. But above all if you are a disciple of Jesus reach out to someone as best you can no matter how simple the gesture may be.

Finally, Covid begins with the letter C. Here are four C’s to go with it.

Keep these things before you, ponder them deeply and may God keep you strong inwardly, godly outwardly and may He bless and prosper your house.

Frank Retief