David L. Goetsch
COVID-19: Living With Vulnerability and Risk (Joshua 1:9)
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
Is the Corona Virus making you feel vulnerable? If so, it’s not a good feeling, is it? Many people feel they are putting their lives at risk every time they leave their homes. For some, this feeling of vulnerability is new and for all, it is uncomfortable and unwelcome.
Vulnerability means feeling unprotected and defenseless against potential harm. It’s the feeling you get when your life, health, well-being, or assets are at risk and there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do about it. The harm you feel vulnerable to might be physical, financial, or emotional or, as is the case with the Corona Virus, all of these.
In a fallen world, we are susceptible to many things of a harmful nature over which we have no control. One of the main reasons people purchase insurance—life, property, health, and automobile—is to mitigate vulnerability and risk. The idea is to ensure financial solvency in the wake of tragic events over which we have no control. With insurance, we feel as if we have at least a modicum of control. We don’t actually gain control by purchasing insurance but it is a prudent thing to do from the standpoint of practicality, and God expects us to be prudent.
Control. The word has a powerful appeal. We all want to be in control of our lives but, in reality, there is little in life we actually control. For the most part, control is a myth. If we were in control, we wouldn’t be susceptible to hurricanes, tornados, floods, crippling injuries from accidents, stock-market crashes, the Corona Virus or anything else that can suddenly rip our lives apart. We simply would not allow these things to happen. But we are not in control; God is. Therefore, the best way to deal with feelings of vulnerability and risk is to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and place our well-being in His hands.
Before proceeding, let me be clear concerning what I am saying. I am not advising you to simply ignore the dangers associated with the Corona Virus while happily claiming God is in control. He is in control, but he gave us brains, discernment, and common sense. Therefore, it stands to reason he expects us to use all three, especially when dealing with threats such as the Corona Virus. In Matthew 10:16, as Christ sent his Apostles out into the world, he told them to be both innocent and wise. By innocent, he meant they should remember the lessons he taught them and follow his example in all situations. By wise, he meant they should be smart and discerning.
In dealing with the Corona Virus, being smart and discerning means following the guidelines set forth by healthcare professionals. For example, if you are a college student, it means canceling your plans to spend Spring Break with hundreds of other students at the beach. When you put yourself at risk of being infected by the Corona Virus, you also put others at risk. Christ’s advice in Matthew 10:16 is good advice for Christian at all times, but especially now that the Corona Virus is making life even more hazardous than usual.
LESSONS FROM SCRIPTURE FOR YOUR DAILY WALK
To enhance your daily walk with the Lord while also protecting yourself and your family from the Corona Virus, consider the following lessons from Scripture. First, although God expects us to exercise good judgment and wisdom (Matthew 10:16), we are not in control of our lives. God is. In any situation, it is God’s plans, not ours that will ultimately prevail (Proverbs 19:21). Having wisely exercised good judgment, you leave the outcome in question to God knowing His purpose will eventually prevail (Proverbs 19:21).
Remember, when you surrender your life to Christ, there is no longer any reason to feel vulnerable or dismayed by circumstances. Rather, you can “Be strong and courageous” knowing “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). You don’t need to be in control because God is.
In Psalm 27:1, David teaches what may be the most important lesson you can learn when it comes to coping with feelings of vulnerability. This verse begins, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” David goes on to say, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Because he surrendered his life to the Lord, David was able to face down and defeat Goliath; something no one else was able to do. As he stood before a giant who was many times his size, infinitely stronger and better armed, David did not have to feel vulnerable because he was wearing the armor of God. As you face the current healthcare crisis, remember David’s example and let the Lord be your “light,” “salvation,” and “stronghold.”
If you still find yourself feeling vulnerable because of the Corona Virus even though you are adhering to all published safety guidelines, pick up your Bible and turn to Psalm 91. In this chapter of Psalms, you will find God’s promises of protection. In verse 3 you will read these words: “Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.” In verse 10 you will read, “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling…”
A final lesson from Scripture is that once you surrender your life to the Lord, He will give you peace. Your heart need not be troubled, you need not be afraid, and you no longer have reason to feel vulnerable (John 14:27). Once your life is in God’s hands, it is in the safest place it can be. When you surrender your life to the Lord, the feeling of vulnerability that has held you in its grip is replaced with the peace of Christ. As you cope with the risk presented by the Corona Virus, be wise and discerning; then put your life in God’s hands. There you will find the only real safety that exists in a fallen world.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com