WUHAN, China — A pastor in Wuhan, China — the center of the coronavirus crisis, which as of press time has now affected 20,000 people — has penned a letter encouraging the Body of Christ in the midst of fear and death.
The pastor, who has not been identified, said that he is looking to the Lord for peace and it trusting Him come what may. He said that Christians should point others to the peace of Christ during this time.
“[T]he church, the safety of the congregation, a faithful witness, the possibility that members could contract the illness, have all become a great area of struggle. It is readily apparent that we are facing a test of our faith,” he wrote. “… Christians are not only to suffer with the people of this city, but we have a responsibility to pray for those in this city who are fearful, and to bring to them the peace of Christ.”
“Christ has already given us His peace, but His peace is not to remove us from disaster and death, but rather to have peace in the midst of disaster and death, because Christ has already overcome these things (John 14:27, 16:33),” the pastor stated. “Otherwise we have not believed in the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and, with the world, would be terrified of pestilence, and lose hope in the face of death.”
He said that even if a believer dies in the midst of tribulation, it is still not a defeat.
“Spoken for today, Wuhan’s pestilence cannot separate us from the love of Christ; this love is in our Lord Jesus Christ. These words are so comforting for us, we have already become one body with Christ,” he wrote. “… Therefore, Christ is with us as we face the pestilence in this city; the pestilence cannot harm us. If we die in the pestilence, it is an opportunity to witness to Christ, and even more to enter into his glory.”
The pastor said that the current challenge with the coronavirus reminds him of Abraham facing Sodom and Jonah facing Ninevah, as they Abraham interceded and Jonah preached repentance to the saving of men’s souls.
“[M]ay we like Lot be grieved over all those in this city (1 Peter 2:7), and like Abraham who earnestly prayed for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33),” he urged. “You see, Jonah with difficulty proclaimed the gospel to Nineveh, and Nineveh repented and was saved. We are this city’s Abraham and Jonah. We must pray for God’s mercy upon this city, and bring peace upon this city through our prayers and testimony.”
“I believe this is the command of God calling those of us living in Wuhan. We are to seek peace for this city, seek peace for those who are afflicted with this illness, seek peace for the medical personnel struggling on the front lines, seek peace for every government official at every level, seek peace for all the people of Wuhan!” he continued.
The pastor said that this time can also be used to comfort others with the gospel, “reminding them that our lives are not in our own hands, and to entrust their lives to God, who is faithful and true.”
“If you do not feel a responsibility to pray, ask the Lord for a loving soul, an earnestly prayerful heart; if you are not crying, ask the Lord for tears,” he wrote. “Because we surely know that only through the hope of the Lord’s mercy will this city be saved.”
Some Chinese fellowships are currently meeting online as residents have been urged to stay inside so as to avoid infection.