|Painting by Sara Hancock (used with permission)|
COVID-19 and the state of emergencies have caused widespread distress.
Fear and anxiety are rampant, and bordering on panic.
Rapidly dwindling stock in stores has amplified fear.
I must admit, when I saw Dollar General’s empty shelves, it unnerved me. In fact, I teared up as I realized just how much our lives have changed in only a few days. When we should be focusing on our upcoming Resurrection Day celebrations, we are smacked in the face with a pandemic and FEAR.
In response, some believers have shouted the first part of II Timothy 1:7, saying, “The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear...” While this is true, these believe we should not cancel church, etc. because we can trust God to keep us healthy. God is able to keep us healthy just as he was able to keep the three Hebrews safe in the fiery furnace. But, the world sees this as being irresponsible.
And, the II Timothy 1:7 verse doesn’t stop there. Keeping the context, it goes on to list the gifts God has given to replace FEAR: POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND. Power to take control of our fears. Love, to extend to others, including our enemies. Love that is supposed to think of the other person before ourselves. And one more gift we sometimes take for granted—a SOUND MIND. That, my friends, is common sense.
So, how do we act responsibly and not walk in fear when, in this situation, FEAR is the primary emotion to grip us?
Keep perspective. Trust God. Remember, He is in control. Whether or not this virus was an act of terrorism, as some have suggested, an accidental leaking of a contained virus developed for biological warfare, one of the troubles that ushers in the beginning of sorrows, or just something common to man, this did not take God by surprise. Nothing happens to us that does not first go through His hands. Our holy God of the Bible has allowed it for a reason. So, in Jesus’ name, take advantage of your neighbor’s fear and share your hope in Jesus Christ.
Secondly, understand what King David meant when he said, “…in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” I know it’s a bit morbid, but God has recorded all the days allotted to us. When these are used up, we will die by whatever means; an auto accident, cardiac arrest, or even Coronavirus. Only God knows this information. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
So, again, trust God and ask Him to “…teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
A heart of wisdom is what we need in times like these. As my brother-in-law and I were talking about churches canceling for Sunday, he mentioned something Brian Christiansen, worship leader at Salem First Christian Church, said to conclude their meeting. Brian asked, “If you were a shepherd, would you lead your flock down a path where you knew they could potentially encounter a wolf? Or would you lead your flock down a path where you knew they would be safe?” The moment I heard this statement, I knew it was wisdom from God.
Pastors have a responsibility to use their sound mind as do we. Listen to the CDC, the WHO, and the local Health Department warnings. Take precautions. Wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, cover your coughs, stay home if you’re sick, love your neighbor as yourself by limiting your contacts until this threat is over, and PRAY.
Holy Father, You are the God of all flesh. There is nothing too hard for you. Calm your children and let them feel your mighty arm. Protect them. Remove fear and increase faith. Take this virus and exterminate it when it has served your purposes. Heal those affected and shine Your Light into this darkness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 Daniel 3:16-18
 Matthew 5:44
 Philippians 2:3-4
 Mark 13:8
 I Corinthians 10:13
 I Peter 3:15
 Psalm 139:16
 Psalm 90:12
 Jeremiah 32:27
 Psalm 89:13