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Exclusive...Franklin Graham: 'Maybe God is using the coronavirus to bring people to faith in him'

by Marcus Jones

US evangelist Franklin Graham has told Premier that Christians to need to pray against the coronavirus because science doesn't have the answers.

Graham, who heads up relief charity Samaritan's Purse, also called on believers to use what's going on as a way of bringing others to faith.

The 67-year-old was speaking on the day his organisation opened up a field hospital in New York's Central Park to help local authorities with medical support.

Admitting to initial scepticism about Covid 19, he said:  "You know, when it first came, I didn't believe. I thought that this is like the flu and people are over exaggerating it until two of my staff got the virus and then you realise how serious this is. 

"We've seen how quickly it has just taken off in the last two weeks so it is very serious and I think for all of us, we need to pray because right now science doesn't have the answer. I believe only God has the answer and we need to turn our eyes toward him and call on his name and ask him for help."

Samaritan's Purse has also opened up a temporary hospital in Cremona outside Milan, Italy. The mobile medical unit offers 68 beds, ten of which are equipped for intensive care. Both hospitals are staffed by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who have signed up to help.

"We're going to do all that we can to try to save lives," Graham said. "We are there in Jesus name, every person that comes in to the hospital - we want them to know that God loves them and cares for them. Our doctors and nurses pray for every patient. We give the best possible health care that we can but we do it in Jesus name, and we don't back away from our Christian faith."

While Graham is keen to meet the physical needs of those suffering, he believes that Christians need to use this time to meet spiritual needs.

"Jesus Christ doesn't want this coronavirus to come and go and for us Christians, not to take advantage of this opportunity to share the faith and hope that we have with a lost and dying world who has no hope that Jesus Christ is the answer, that Jesus Christ is God's Son who took our sins on the cross.

"Maybe God is using the coronavirus to bring people to faith in him - we don't know the mind of God in this thing.

"There are storms in life, and Jesus Christ was caught in a storm out on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples, and the ship was about to sink. The disciples ran to Jesus and they said, 'Jesus, save us. Don't you care that we're about to drown?' And of course, Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves and it became instantly calm, and they got through that storm. 

"I think when we put our faith in Christ, it doesn't mean that God's just going to do away with the problems, but he's going to be with us to handle those problems and that's what's important."

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