How To Survive A Pandemic

“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

Philippians 4:12

If the apostle Paul was given the task of writing a policy on “how to survive a pandemic” he could just hand us a Bible and open it to the book of Philippians, one of the books he wrote while in prison. The apostle Paul writes in the book of Philippians that he has pretty much experienced every situation and circumstance that a person can this side of heaven and he wanted the world to learn the lessons that he himself learned.  

Step 1: Rejoice in the Lord. In the previous chapters the apostle Paul has made clear that Jesus is our motivation, our strength and the one who makes rejoicing in any situation even possible. Rejoicing in the Lord is a choice we make. The call to rejoice is a command of God given to us but like all commands we have the freedom to choose to obey or not. What we can’t choose is the outcome for our disobedience. The apostle Paul from a jail cell is sharing from his own life experience how we all can thrive and not just survive, even in the midst of a global pandemic. And it all begins by choosing to rejoice in the Lord, what He has done and what He has promised to do!  

Step 2: “Let your gentleness be known.” One of the first things that happens when people begin to panic or to react in fear is to become angry or harsh. It’s the natural response of our old nature. Gentleness on the other hand is a fruit of God’s Spirit in us, a byproduct or evidence that the Holy Spirit is living in us and giving us the ability to exercise self control. Paul could be gentle because he knew that God was in control. When the people around you are becoming fearful, ask God to give you the strength to be gentle, firm, yet gentle.

Step 3:  Don’t be anxious, be prayerful! It’s completely natural to feel anxious when we face the unknown. That’s why God calls us to pray and to cast all of our cares on Him. God’s got big shoulders and Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are tired and burdened in this life for the burdens He gives us to carry are light. When fear and worry seek to weigh you down, pray pray pray!

Step 4: Be Thankful. In times of uncertainty like the apostle Paul found himself as he sat chained in his cell he could have easily become bitter. Just like happiness, being thankful is a willful choice we get to make each day. Just this morning I was thanking Jesus for the silver lining in these dark rain clouds of the coronavirus. “Sheltering in place” has allowed to be spend a lot of time with my wife, more time than I ever have in our life together as a married couple. I have had more time to enjoy the Lord, to pray, to study and talk with others about Jesus. I have been able to spend more time with some of our grandchildren who live here in town since both of their parents have had to continue to work. I’ve read more books and taken more naps, been on more walks and even got to ride my bike. I have made more phone calls, stood in more lines, collected more plastic bags and signed more cards. I have smiled and waved to complete strangers and have reached out to more of my neighbors and prayed with more people than ever before. I have learned its hard to be anxious when you are busy being thankful.

Step 5: Think on the right things. You’ve probably heard the expression, “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” and its true. Never forget, the target of the devil is your mind and his weapons are his lies. Guard your heart the bible teaches us, guard your mind Paul exhorts us here. Even kids get the point, “Garbage in garbage out.” The apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 gives us a list of things to think about today.  Think about things that are true, things are noble, things are just, things are pure, things are lovely, things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think on these things!  

Step 6: Put them into practice. This last step is most likely the difference between those who are experiencing the peace of God and those who are not. You see, loved one, it’s not just thinking the right things that will get you through a trial or a global pandemic. It’s putting them into practice.

Do it today, do it right now. Rejoice in the Lord, be gentle, don’t be anxious, be prayerful, be thankful, and think the right things. It won’t just get through a pandemic, you can thrive! My hope, my prayer is that you do!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

Be Safe and know... I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer





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