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Fear, Faith and the Force of the Church

It’s easy to feel anxious and fearful of what the future holds as the global COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty loom large – for ourselves, our families, our World Relief community and those we serve in some of the most vulnerable regions around the world. Yet, we find comfort in knowing God is faithful, good and a keeper of his promises. At times like these, the social distinctions that can separate us are stripped away, and we are reminded: We are all human and we are all in this together. We are also reminded of the power of the local church.

Our President, Scott Arbeiter, reflected on this today in a piece published in Christianity Today. In it, he encourages us to move beyond fear, and think about how we might reach out in love to those who are most vulnerable in the midst of this crisis, while also protecting ourselves. We pray his words would be both comforting and encouraging to you during this time.

You can read the beginning of Scott’s piece below. Visit Christianity Today to read Scott’s full piece.

The World Health Organization has now officially recognized the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic, with more than 100,000 individuals already known to be affected throughout the world. The numbers are likely to continue to rise quickly, both in the U.S. and globally, as the disease spreads and as testing capabilities are expanded.

As we take appropriate precautions to protect ourselves and our families, my prayer is that the church would earn the reputation for caring sacrificially for those who are most vulnerable in the midst of any crisis. This is possible, “for God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (I Timothy 1:7).

In the midst of any humanitarian crisis – whether a natural disaster, a war or a public health emergency – those who were vulnerable before the crisis tend to suffer most. When Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake in 2010, the number of casualties was exponentially higher than when earthquakes of similar magnitudes have occurred elsewhere, because of recent flooding and inadequate infrastructure.

Though Haitians of all sorts were affected, those living in the most extreme poverty had the worst living conditions to begin with and also the least margin to respond to an unexpected crisis. Middle- and upper-class individuals generally have some savings to rely upon in the midst of a crisis; the poor are the most likely to become homeless, to lack adequate healthcare and to be forcibly displaced.

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