Christians should not be afraid of anything. When we are faced with a crisis, our confidence and fearlessness should shine through the darkness of unbelief. Christians shine brightly as a light when the darkness threatens us. Through doing extensive reading and studying on the Internet this week, I came across an interesting piece of history. Even though I have taught history in high school for many years, I had never heard of this incident. This historical incident was called Plague of Cyprian. It took place between the years of 249-262 AD. It teaches us that we can learn from the bravery of Christians in the past who faced situations just like we with the Corona virus challenge. Christians shine the brightest in the times of extreme darkness.
St. Cyprian was the person who was chronicling what happened. He reports that over 5,000 died per day died during the height of the pandemic. During some periods, carcasses of people lined the street. They could not bury the bodies quickly. The sickness was much like the ebola that struck. There was fever, vomiting, shuddering, twitching, loss of hearing, and loss of sight. There was a shortage of laborers and a food shortage.
It took place during the first extended period of persecution against Christians under the Roman Emperor Decius. He and the government blamed Christians for the plague. The problem was that Christians were not running away from the plague. They were running toward the plague. While unbelieving people, including physicians, were running away, Christians were staying to care for friends, relatives, and even people they did not know.
By their actions, Christians showed the love of Jesus to an unbelieving world. They showed that, “Christianity was worth dying for.” This confounds and confuses Christianity’s critics. The worldview is that the government is to take care of these problems. That is a failing belief.
I want to encourage Christians to take heart and run toward the pandemic instead of away from it. What I mean by that is to ask God to give you opportunities to show the love of Jesus during the corona virus pandemic. Call people and encourage them. Write emails to people who are alone. Help people get groceries and supplies. Be involved. Don’t hole up and become isolated. Let people see the love of Jesus through your energetic actions.
Remember the instruction that Paul gave us in 2 Timothy 1:5-8: “I remember your genuine faith … I know that same faith continues strong in you … Fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you … For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline … So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.”
Run towards the flame. Let’s brighten the darkness with our love and confidence in Jesus!!