We are living in a scary time right now. China reported in December 2019 that they were treating dozens of cases of a new virus. A couple months later the coronavirus has spread and affected the entire world. This virus is very contagious and serious that people are dying, infected, fighting for their lives, losing their jobs, isolated from their loved ones, and so much more. Sports are cancelled indefinitely, the Olympics moved to 2021, countries are in mandatory lockdowns, grocery stores are empty, churches will have virtual Easter services, and overall life has changed for everybody. This doesn’t seem real, but it’s our new normal for now. We have no idea when we can go back to normal life. People are going through so many emotions right now. One common emotion that a lot of people are feeling is fear. We are in uncharted waters where it is ok to be afraid, but we cannot let fear control us. We can have a healthy fear and still have faith and hope in God through this pandemic.
Let’s make sense of the fear that we may be feeling right now. Everybody has fear, it is a common emotion. The definition of fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain or a threat. When we look at our current situation, I believe that our reality and circumstances would understandably and rationally cause people to have fear.
“Biblical faith will never require that you deny reality.” Paul Tripp
I believe this statement to be true about how our faith should never require us to deny reality. People are getting infected with this virus and potentially spreading it to others. People are losing their lives. People are losing their jobs. People are isolated from their family, friends, and loved ones through this time. We as a human race are struggling. We should have appropriate concern over the coronavirus pandemic because it has affected our world and lives. We need to be able to view and handle these fears in a wise and Godly way.
What does God have to say about fear? When I have read and researched this topic, I understand that there are two types of fear mentioned in the bible.
The first fear is how we should fear God. This type of fear is describing how we should have a fear of God which is a total acknowledgement of who He is. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” Proverbs 9:10 God is all knowing, all powerful, holy, and righteous. We can have a healthy fear of the Lord which will lead to a stronger faith and trust in Him. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” Hebrews 12:28 This fear is not being afraid or scared of God but showing Him the respect and reverence that He deserves from all of us.
The second fear is how we should not allow fear to control us. This type of fear is when we allow our fears to overcome us and control our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behavior. God mentions many times in the bible how we should not fear our circumstances. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:10 Sometimes we feel afraid, anxious, worried, or insecure about something outside of our control. We may fear losing our jobs, not seeing our friends again, being stuck in our houses forever, never going to another baseball game, more people dying, and more. We can use those fears to guide our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. We can get so scared of what we will lose and how it will affect us, that we make decisions from our impulses instead of our spirit. When we allow this type of fear to control us, it shows a lack of trust and reliance on God. God continually reminds us in His word, how we can choose not to be afraid because He will be with us through everything we face.
Right now we live in a world where we have very little control over our circumstances. It is easy to have fear because we have no idea when this pandemic will end. We have an opportunity to fully rely and trust God during this time. “And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this that He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him?” Luke 8:25 God has complete control over this world which includes our current situation. God has used tragic events to bring people closer to Him. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. We are not God, so we don’t understand or see things from God’s perspective. We don’t understand God’s big plan but this is our chance to trust and rely on Him.
God uses us to serve His purposes during these dark times. We can acknowledge the dangers of the coronavirus which provides a great opportunity to think more of others. The coronavirus is very contagious that we are currently at high risk of being infected or potentially spreading the virus to others. We are called to practice social distancing from other people during this month. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” Philippians 2:3-4 We are called to give up our own interests for the sake of others. We are isolated in our homes and away from our friends, loved ones, and communities. This is not an ideal situation even for my introvert friends who are starting to miss people. We are not practicing these things for only our own safety but we practice social distancing to reduce the risk of harming others. There is a chance we can cause more harm than good. God is using our concerns and realities to have us think more of others during this time.
God does not want us to fear our trials and tribulations. God wants us to be secure in Him, so that we can forever be His children. When we are God’s children then we can have peace and contentment in all circumstances. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” John 6:33 When sin entered this world, God made a promise that He would send a Messiah to conquer sin (Genesis 3:15). God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, so that we can eternally have a relationship with God. He provides us the Holy Spirit which gives us peace, contentment, fulfillment, and courage. When we have the spirit of God in us, then we do not need to allow fear to control our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. We can bask in the assurance that we will always be His children.
We live in a world where we need to take extra precautions due to our circumstances. God calls us to not fear our circumstances. You do not need to deny your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. God loves you and knows everything about you. God is not expecting you to be this perfect person because nobody can ever do what Jesus did on this Earth. This is our opportunity to trust and rely on Him to be our strength and make us courageous during this time. We can feel afraid and still walk with God. “When I am afraid I will put my trust in You. In God whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 You may be afraid but it doesn’t mean that you do not have faith or trust in God. More than ever we need to have faith and trust in Him, so that we can make it through these dark times.
Everybody in the world is struggling in some way. This is really hard and it is very easy to be discouraged. This has been the hardest thing I have experienced in my lifetime. I acknowledge that the world is in tough shape right now. It breaks my heart to hear about people getting sick, losing their jobs, worrying about their future, concerned over their loved ones, isolated from their communities, and so much more. I have my own fears, concerns, and anxieties over how this will affect my life and future. “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 I trust and believe in God, the same God who does the impossible and will do it again. I believe that He will lead us out of this and only He knows that day. We can not be driven by fear. We need hope and faith in Him who can provide us with peace, contentment, and joy beyond all understanding. Let faith and hope lead us through these dark times.
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