Fear is a strange thing. Fear can come from a thing (a virus) or a lack of a thing (toilet paper?). It can because of knowledge (number of deaths from the virus) or lack of knowledge (when will there be toilet paper?).
It can be something that we understand or it can be something we don’t even realize is there. Maybe most interestingly, it can manifest in either a retreat or an attack—what we sometimes call the “fight or flight” responses.
There are a lot of people right now (maybe even most people) that are dealing with fear. Some people are afraid of the virus. Some people are afraid of the economic impact of what is happening right now. Some are afraid of what is going to happen to family, friends and loved ones. Some are simply afraid of the fact that we don’t know what is going to happen in the coming weeks and months.
I’ve seen and have stories of how our fear is manifesting in our daily lives. Some are in hiding and terrified by what is or could be happening. Some are out and about, acting bold, while in their hearts they are dealing with a whole host of what-ifs that lead to fear and anxiety. Some are responding in anger, lashing out at others because of what they view as inconsiderate or dangerous.
On social media, with the lack of filter that is so prevalent, this is even more apparent. As I check my Twitter feed I see many posts ridiculing the response to coronavirus. Some are saying we are being far too lax in our collective approach. Others are saying we are being far too strict in our approach.
Regardless of our opinions on response and timing, there are a couple of concerns that I have. One is that some are allowing fear to control them. It becomes the driving force behind their decisions and their interactions, and this will lead to misery for those individuals and for anyone in their lives.
A second concern of mine is that I am seeing what I will bluntly put as an increase in paranoia. There are more and more conspiracy theories flying around every day; how did the virus start, who is “controlling” it, what is its “purpose”, how is the government using this to control us and take away our freedom and guns and religious rights? A third of our nation believes that someone has a vaccine but is withholding it. People around the world are tearing down and burning 5G cell towers because…well, I don’t really know why. Cell phones cause viruses I guess? Ed Stetzer, who has been putting out invaluable resources for ministries and for Christians during the stay-at-home order time, recently published a wonderful article that I would recommend called, “On Christians Spreading Corona Conspiracies: Gullibility is not a Spiritual Gift”. (This is coming from the guy that was writing about UFOs a couple of posts ago…)
A final thought is this: in the midst of all of this, we have NOTHING TO FEAR!!! God is still in control! That hasn’t changed and it won’t change!
I like to play a game sometimes called, “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” In the game you consider a situation and ask the question, “whats the worst that could happen?” It isn’t a complex game.
Lets say, right now, I contract coronavirus and, despite extraordinary odds given my age and health, I get very sick. I feel miserable for days, I’m hospitalized, then I die.
I have a wife and 2 small kids. We have family and loved ones, and I know they will be taken care of. This is a terrible situation for them, but God is still in control and they will make it through. As for me, I croak and the next moment, I wake up in heaven. That’s a win for me! So…worst case scenario, not so bad.
That may seem simplistic, and maybe even a bit offensive to some, but really that is the attitude the Bible lays out for us. Over and over again it tells us to not fear death, to trust in God, and keep our eyes fixed on the hope we have for eternity.
Seriously, it’s all over the place. Take a look at this list.
So, if I can be so bold as the play the role of angel for a moment, BE NOT AFRAID! Or, if I can use another callback to a previous post, DON’T PANIC! God’s got this. We’ll be ok. There may be some pain or heartache along the way, but there is immense joy in front of us. Stay on mission: love God, love others. Trust me, I read the end of the book: it all works out.