The impact of COVID 19 has many benefits to our Christian walk. COVID 19 started in April 2020 and has been ongoing till now with various impacts on health. First and foremost, would be the physical health as demonstrated by the mortality rate so far. Not forgetting its effect on mental and emotional health with the rise in depression and anxiety in our community. In regard to spiritual health, I have come to realise that it has provided multiple opportunities and benefits in which I will disclose below.
Intimate moments with God
The first benefit is the opportunity to spend more personal time with God through delving into the Word and prayer. With the rush of our modern lifestyle with work, family and social outings, we tend to have quite a few time restraints.
Most of us tend to procrastinate spending large periods of time on studying the Word or simply making time for intimate moments with God, myself included. However, with COVID restrictions on various occupations and gatherings, it has placed us with more free time in our day, thus, relieving us of our usual excuse of having a lack of time.
Creative forms of outreach
With the issues of social gatherings, we are now limited with the numbers we can have in our churches. However, this has pushed us to optimise our outreach and capacity to connect through online churches and zoom life-group meetings. Even with physical gatherings, we have added further thought on location to allow larger gatherings which hasn’t always been considered during our pre-COVID years.
Direction for prayer
While COVID 19 restrictions have limited us physically, it does not have to limit us spiritually. I have found in my personal walk that when I lack a focus to prayer, I can focus attention on the people impacted by COVID. The people who have contracted COVID, families who are in grief from loss via COVID, the financial crisis from unemployment. As we are called to be the “salt and light of the world” (Matthew chapter 5 verses 13-16) I believe it is our time to stand in the gap for our generation, not just through physical outreach, but to carry them spiritually via prayer.
Activation of the Word
Considering the impact of COVID on our emotional and mental health, now is more than the time for us to activate the Word of God in our lives. Living in Australia, the government has provided easy health access for mental issues during this pandemic. However, this does not completely cover the spiritual aspect in mental health issues.
I have found in my walk that certain Bible verses prelude to the management of certain mental health issues including depression and anxiety. For example, it is written, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians chapter 4 verses 6-7).
There are many other examples which include “casting your cares on Him” (Psalms chapter 55 verse 22), “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew chapter 6 verse 34). Meditating and internalising such verses has helped me overcome various stressful situations, in which I believe would have done so for the rest of us as well.
Call for unity
With the ongoing duration of the current pandemic and its current impacts, we are called further to be even more united than before. Experiencing social isolation can amplify negative thoughts from loneliness, especially for people whose love language is touch.
Having the lack of being in a physical church can also lead to withering of passion and destructive introversion. As the Bible speaks of “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews chapter 10 verses 24-25), it is more evident we need to continue connecting with one another and stand united through this tribulation.
Demonstration of the supernatural
Under a certain perspective, the COVID pandemic can be viewed as an opportunity to further pray for the sick and raise the dead. While this sort of supernatural healing has often been shied away from in our modern world, it is an opportunity now more than ever, to demonstrate our faith and see God move in these times. It has been demonstrated multiple times in the new testament and in my personal life. While it may be something to consider, I would urge you my fellow brothers and sisters, to consider the opportunity.
While it is difficult to view our current pandemic in a positive light, taking a step back and considering the light in the dark is quite an enriching experience. Looking to our Father in Heaven, let us find what part we can play in these times.
Dr Bryan Yap is a 29yr Sunshine Coast Doctor, Missionary, Musician, Photographer