The following is a recent interview that the Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), Dr. Francis Collins, conducted with Jim Daly of Focus on the Family in which he gave sage and reasonable advice about the coronavirus outbreak. Full disclosure: my wife worked under Dr. Collins at NIH for a time. I repost this interview here not only because Dr. Collins comes highly recommended to me personally but also because his words are apt.
In times of a medical crisis, we turn to prayer – and trusted physicians.
My friend Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is one of the most brilliant medical doctors I know, and I was honored and delighted to welcome him onto the Focus on the Family radio broadcast today to discuss the herculean challenge we face with the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Collins has served as the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2009. In his role, he oversees much of our country’s biomedical research. A trained physician-geneticist, Dr. Collins spearheaded the international Human Genome Project, a groundbreaking effort that led to the deciphering of the human DNA instruction book.
Notably, Dr. Collins, who was once an avowed atheist, is now a strong believer in Jesus Christ and tackles all his tasks with the confidence that comes with the assurance found in his faith.
On today’s program we waded into very practical matters. Anxiety is running high in our country, and I thought it would be helpful to separate the fact from the fiction.
Dr. Collins confirmed what we’ve known – we’re in a very serious season, and it’s going to take the public’s cooperation to overcome this challenge. If our citizens don’t take the significant preventative steps and heed the advice of officials, we could potentially see between 1 and 1.5 million deaths from COVID-19 over the course of the next year.
At the same time, Dr. Collins mentioned we should be encouraged by the rapid progress being made to develop a vaccine – but approval and distribution is still almost a year away.
I hope you’ll listen to the full program, as it’s filled with spiritual encouragement as well as tangible guidance. For example, what should you do if one person in a family is diagnosed with the virus?
Dr. Collins said it should be assumed that everybody in the home is exposed and then self-quarantine for 14 days. Nobody in that household should be out circulating in public. You might feel okay, but you could be actively spreading the virus.
Even as believers who enjoy the promise of eternal security, it’s easy to feel anxious about the current circumstances. Yet, as the doctor suggested, the Christian’s response to this crisis must be sober – but also courageous and steadfast.
We shouldn’t fear the coronavirus. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). According to Dr. Collins, it’s a moment for Christians to step up to serve their fellow neighbor in loving and generous ways.
As we pray for the Lord to turn this situation around, please remember to pray specifically for all the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this battle.
America is a rich, prosperous and highly advanced nation – but we still can’t do this all on our own. We’re in desperate need of God’s insight and divine intervention.
Please tune in to today’s broadcast and join me in praying for Dr. Collins, his team and every person who is playing their part in this great medical battle. I believe the Lord is up to something, and He will act.
To quote the hymnist, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.”