Since the Coronavirus was declared a ‘global pandemic,’ it has dominated our news channels and we’ve been witnesses to how the nations are shutting borders and taking other drastic measures to fight the outbreak and curb the number of fatalities.
While health experts and governments are preparing for the worst, President David Johnson gives a word of encouragement to our students and the greater Providence community.
He reminds us that COVID-19 isn’t the first crisis we’ve encountered. Over the span of his lifetime, he’s experienced a number of crisis that affected things on a world scale such as the Vietnam War in the 1960s/70s, the OPEX oil crises in the 1970s, the Gulf War in the early 1990s, 9/11 in 2001 and the latest recession in 2008.
“Crisis has a way of causing us to reflect theologically about life and about how to respond to trouble,” says Johnson.
The Bible is full of historical crises and how God’s people persevered. Johnson references the books of Habakkuk and Zephaniah and the pending Babylonian take over, putting God’s people into exile and captivity. In Habakkuk 3, a crisis of health, of economy and of famine are mentioned. In spite of all these things, Habbakkuk chose to rejoice and declared that God was his strength.
“We don’t know what the future holds in the next few weeks. Things could remain the same. They could get better or they could get worse. We just don’t know,” adds Johnson about all the recent developments at Providence in response to COVID-19. “I am extremely proud of you, our Providence students, faculty and staff. You’ve done an amazing job of changing gears quickly.”
Johnson continues to take us back to the Bible and reminds us about the prophet Zephaniah’s response to crisis, reciting the encouragement recorded in Zep 3:16-17: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
These are the promises of God to us.
You can watch the President’s full message on video below.