Watching ESPN yesterday as they discussed the delay of the Major League baseball season, I heard Jeff Passion offer this insight:
“The idea that we know what’s going on 2 hours from now, let alone 2 weeks from now is just not the case.”
The global pandemic caused by the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating wide-spread uncertainty, fear, and even panic. We haven’t experienced this much disruption of our daily lives since the 9/11 attacks. In fact, in some ways it seems worse
According to the CDC, 46 states as well as Washington, D.C. have reported 1629 cases of COVID 19. At this writing, 41 have died from Coronavirus. While every life is precious and every death is mourned, it’s worth noting that these figures are much lower than the reported cases of flu and deaths as a result.
However, with theme parks like Disney World temporarily closing, the suspension of the NBA’s season, and the cancellation of all NCAA sports included the beloved and popular March Madness, it leads to feelings of alarm, worry, and even hysteria. As witnessed in the run on grocery and drug stores, leaving their shelves empty. Water, wipes, and hand sanitizer and even toilet paper are in short supply in some places.
It is obvious that uncertainty leads to worry. And worry leads to fear. And fear leads to panic.
What should we do? How should we respond? Where can we turn?
Choose faith over fear.
Pray instead of worry.
Trust in God more than in human solutions.
I haven’t counted them, but Leroy Brownlow once wrote that there are 365 exhortations in the Bible to “fear not.” One for every day of the year. Here are a few.
When Joshua was entrusted with leading Israel into the promised land and defeating a formidable foe, Moses charged him with these words: “Be strong and courageous…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or dismayed” (Deut. 31:6-7).
In an exuberant declaration of faith, the Psalmist David penned these words:
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
And the apostle Paul reminds us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
So, with the Hebrew writer, we may boldly say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
Fear is a deadly and debilitating emotion. Fear makes us skeptical. Suspicious. Selfish. Stubborn. And short-sighted.
Fear is often more deadly than the thing we fear. Fear breeds unnecessary worries. Unsupported conclusions. And irrational actions.
At the peak of The Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected 32nd President of the United States. On March 4, 1933, he delivered an inaugural address that was awaited with great anticipation. In this time of great national uncertainty, Roosevelt was right when he encouraged, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.”
This is true today as we face a different kind of foe. For people of faith, it is an opportunity to let our light shine. To exercise sound judgment. To be kind and caring. To show sensitivity to our neighbor’s concerns. To rise above the political posturing that is unfortunately occurring. And to wholly, faithfully trust in God.
“Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And no one was there.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman