March 12, 2020 | IFA Staff
At the grocery this morning I was surprised to see fear had set in overnight. It could have something to do with our local school system closing immediately due to the coronavirus. Possibly a response to seeing the President address the nation from the Oval Office, although I felt his speech was a good mix of caution and reassurance. But whatever the trigger that set my neighbors to make a Y2K-level stock-up at the grocery, it was here. I gathered my things–my cart looked bare compared to the heaping carts I saw around me. People were either shocked and disgusted or zombie-like in their shelf-emptying, cart-filling quest. I admit I was getting some things for the potential that a quarantine would be in effect, but I was not about to get caught up in the mass panic I saw around me. The lines were long and people were overwhelmed.
I made an effort to smile at others, reassure people that shelves would surely be restocked soon, and tried to bring some kindness to the store workers who were trying to keep up. I thanked the store manager for their hard work, we joked about job security. I told her I would be praying that things are calm at the store and that they don’t experience angry customers or additional shortages. As I wheeled my groceries out to my car, I saw a police officer cruising through the parking lot. His window was down and as he slowly drove by, being the people-person that I am, I said hello. As we chatted about the surprising panicked response of people to the virus, I asked him how our intercessors could pray for law enforcement at this time. He thought for a minute and said, “Honestly? Pray for patience–on both sides.” He also shared that public panic makes any situation worse, and difficult for law enforcement.
As we pray for the overall coronavirus impact, don’t forget to pray for those front-line personnel who are dealing with an overly-panicked public in many cases. Keeping order is a hard job. Pray for your local grocery store employees, for the doctors and nurses in your local practices and hospitals, and yes, for law enforcement. Pray for calm and patience for all as they seek to serve, maintain order and reassure the public. Let them know they are being prayed for–they could use the encouragement.
I read a report last month about the “yellow angels” in Wuhan, China–Christians who took the opportunity (and risk) to share hope in Christ with others during a very scary time in their city. I am inspired. No, we in America are not experiencing Wuhan conditions or risks by any means, but the panic and fear people are feeling is real to them. Let’s use this situation to bring the kindness, peace, encouragement, and hope of Christ to those around us. The police officer I spoke with was grateful that I asked how intercessors could be praying–how I could be praying–for him and his law enforcement colleagues. He responded with thanks and that prayers make a difference. They do.
(Article by Kris Kubal, IFA Staff.)