Alumni Voice: A Christian response towards those with COVID-19 - Practical Tips
Jeannie, BA ’95, and Dr. Daniel McGinnis, BA ’99, reside in Sheffield, England with their two children. Three of their four family members were diagnosed with COVID-19, with Jeannie experiencing a moderate (borderline severe) case.
As a Christian, I fully believe God heals in various ways. Regardless of one’s theology on healing, our focus can be peace, kindness and compassion. Based on my personal experience, here are helpful things one can do (or avoid doing) for those with COVID-19:
Be a bearer of peace, calm, hope and faith, but have wisdom on when and how much to share. We know that God heals, and it is not for a lack of faith when we don’t get an instantaneous result. And when you are in the midst of having the virus, it is a battle to stay personally peaceful. It diffuses anxiety when others are full of peace and hope.
Unless you are a medical professional, don’t offer medical advice. Offer to pick up prescriptions, medical supplies and necessities. We have felt helpless a few times while being quarantined, with online shopping overloaded and the inability to run to the pharmacy. Several people have offered, which spared us from having to ask.
Avoid asking if someone is feeling better today. It can be quite demoralizing. Imagine days 12, 13, 14 when you are feeling worse. “Just checking in,” “I’m praying for you” or “Feel free to vent to me if needed” are better statements.
Reach out even more often to those who live alone. Honestly, I don’t know how I could have coped with this virus by myself. Be an emergency back-up if possible or drop off meals.
Find out a loved one’s comfort treat and deliver it as a surprise. We’ve had this happen several times over the self-isolation period...just as we are running out of our supply.
Send short, recorded messages with no expectation that people have to reply. I’ve been so ill, and can’t get to things right away. But I have been able to play short videos and prayers from people all over the world numerous times and “just receive.” Two-minute messages are ideal.
Drop off notes to your neighbors (use gloves when writing and mention you did to mitigate fear). A neighbor down the street left us a kind note offering to help. Since then, we have had a lot of exchanges, and she has been checking up on us. She is a Christian, though she didn’t mention it at first. It meant so much to me and I have to seriously applaud her ‘following the Holy Spirit.’
When you pray, have authority, but keep it peaceful. There can be a time for more aggressive prayer, but I have felt so loved and comforted by peaceful prayers, peaceful scriptures and sober, authentic hope. What a wonderful way to demonstrate compassionate, sensitive, full-of-life Christianity now, when everyone is more open to spiritual things in such desperate times.