some thoughts from a retired GP and church member.
There is a lot of anxiety and misinformation around which is made worse by uncertainty. We do not know who is infected, how fast it will spread, what other measures we may have to take but we do know we have a faithful God who loves and cares for us. He does not want us to fear. For God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self control. II Tim 1 v 7
It is not easy to strike a balance between appreciating the seriousness of this pandemic and becoming over anxious. If you have a particular issue you need to resolve then think it through until you reach an practical conclusion. This could be how best to support an elderly relative or how to get enough toilet paper. Worrying about maybes and what ifs does not help you or your family or honour our loving Heavenly Father. I Peter 5 v7 says ‘Cast all your care on him for he cares for you’. We cannot predict the future so we should make the necessary changes and then deliberately choose not to worry. For those who struggle with anxiety this website might help: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
A lot of people are spending too much time obsessively checking the internet and social media for information or opinions. This is unhealthy and may lead us into reading things which are wrong or misguided. It generates anxiety. Stick to the reliable websites and facts: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
We can focus on positive activities and consider how to love our neighbour as ourselves. We should be more concerned about the welfare of others. How can we protect others by our choices? How can we help people self isolating or unwell? How can we encourage people who are feeling anxious, afraid or lonely?
We need to take sensible precautions and follow advice. It will be inconvenient and severely affect how we live and interact with each other. We must not think the advice does not apply to us. We also need to respect those given authority to make decisions and support them.
Washing your hands properly and often is essential every time you go anywhere. A thorough hand wash with soap is better then hand gel so don’t stress if you have no gel! Watch the videos, practice with your family, get in the habit of doing it well. If your hands get sore use moisturiser.
Avoid unnecessary contact. Keep your distance. Don’t hug or kiss even close friends. Find personal inventive ways to greet each other.
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. We do it without thinking about it and need to train ourselves not to do it. Follow advice about how to cough or sneeze into bent elbow or tissue.
You personally are not immune to becoming infected or passing it onto others. You could be infectious before developing symptoms. Please take self isolation seriously if you do have symptoms. We will find new ways to connect with each other. If we minimise the risk and allow the infection to sweep through the population unchecked then we risk losing more people and overwhelming services.
80% of those infected will have a mild illness but 20% will have more serious symptoms and are more likely to be older or have other health conditions. They are likely to need hospital admission and may need access to scarce resources for breathing support.
If you are working, especially if providing physical care to others, be sensible but do your job well. We are so grateful to everyone working in health or social care services or supporting family or as volunteers. Thank you.
We can continue to be grateful for what we do have; homes, access to food, family and friends, while remembering those who do not have these things. We can share what we have, not complain when appointments or events are cancelled, but continue to trust God for the future whatever happens. Pray for mercy on our nation. Be positive and sensible. Keep well. Sheila Matthews
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer heJoseph M. Scriven