Dear Readers,

Although our letter campaign to China has ended, the coronavirus is still at large, sweeping globally and causing fear in the hearts of many. At the time of this writing, we find the National Capital Region of the Philippines bracing for a quarantine. Grocery queues are now very long, and shelves are quickly emptying.

I’d like for us to take a moment to ask ourselves: is fear gripping our hearts to the point that it entirely consumes us?

Fear & Faith

It is normal to be feel fear, but we should not allow it to take the upper hand in life. God is still more powerful than the virus. God can still heal. God can still protect. God can still intervene.

It is wise to take precautionary measures against the virus. Wise to update ourselves. Wise also to remember facts (like how the fatality rate of those with the virus is at 3%-4% compared to SARS at 11%); and to be levelheaded in practical matters (like how bread can grow moldy quickly and shouldn’t be hoarded).

The virus is highly contagious, but we can make faith contagious, too. After all, God, who is PERFECT LOVE, drives out fear. He should increase in our lives; not fear or panic! Let’s hold on to His promises for us in the Bible, such as those mentioned in 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.
-Psalm 91:1-6

The Character of Our God

The coronavirus is NOT from God. It is NOT God’s will or job description to “steal, kill, and destroy”; that’s Satan’s.

God is Someone who restores (Jehovah El-Ashiyb), heals (Jehovah Rapha), and protects (Jehovah Sabaoth – Lord of Heaven’s Armies). He can also be our peace (Jehovah Shalom), if we let Him.

Drama Behind the Scenes

With the mountain-load of negative news coming out, we shouldn’t forget what is happening in the background:

  1.  Christians are praying more. We find them calling for fasts and uniting (even if done online) for the common purpose of standing spiritually against the virus.
  2. Scientists are racing for medical breakthroughs and vaccines, and in the process, creating new inventions. In the Philippines, the University of the Philippines developed a testing kit, making diagnosis of the virus cheaper and faster.
  3.  Governments have raised their levels of hygienic awareness, instituting practices for better cleanliness.
  4.  People are implementing these hygienic practices at home and wherever they go.
  5. People are cheering doctors. They realize the heroism of medical practitioners who risk their lives at the forefront of this battle against sickness.

We find also the stirrings of a possibility: just like how the Black Death swept globally in the Middle Ages preceding the global spiritual and cultural awakening (the Reformation and Renaissance)— could this virus be Satan’s attempt to stop a global awakening or revival that he is smelling? The virus is causing people to stop gathering. What is it about the gathering of people; the practice of unity at this time and hour that scares the Enemy to death?

Perhaps we need clear eyes to see beyond the sickness and into the other areas of drama unfolding.

In the meantime, let us pray. Let us pray for our nation and the nations of the world. God is still the Healer. God is still our Protector. We can still trust His heart for us.

Divine Justice

Also, here is something to think about: because of the devastation and loss caused by the virus, Christians can ask for Divine justice to be implemented. How? We can ask God to balance the scales of sickness by asking Him for 100 million+ souls to know Christ and His salvation. We can ask Him for China, the original epicenter of the coronavirus to rip away their shroud of shame and to stand up, becoming the epicenter of revival for a greater type of crown. Why not? Isn’t it right to cry out for justice and salvation, and to plead the healing of Christ upon the nations because Christ has already purchased our healing? For those of us in the Philippines who keep using our mouths to bring our leaders down, let’s speak encouragement instead!

There is so much we can do to be a light in the darkness at this time and hour! Let’s be messengers of hope. Let’s be people of true faith!

Standing with you in this journey of life,
Janina Marie

These are some of the messages exchanged between One Voice Magazine and China. Thank you for participating in our letter campaign. (Please note that some of the Chinese characters are garbled due to technical/font difficulties in the exchange.)

Final note: The World Health Organization has announced Europe as the new epicenter of the virus. Keep Europe in prayer, too!

Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.