Fear. The very mention of the word causes chills through the body. We have been reintroduced to this menacing presence over the last few months, not only in the United States, but all over the world. This fear has a name, and it is COVID-19.
This virus has caused our daily lives to change dramatically. We are encouraged to stay inside as much as we can, and if we dare to venture outside then we should do so with masks and gloves. Personal interaction has been reduced to making sure we are at least six feet apart, if we even dare to interact with each other. We are being told that our lives will probably never go back to normal.
One could argue that the church has been hit the hardest. After all, we are a loving bunch who, for the most part, enjoy being around each other. I have never been to one church service where there was not a hug, handshake or high five. Now we are prohibited from coming together, even in small groups. And all of this is because of that nasty four letter word: fear.
At times like these I find it comforting to see what the scriptures say. Is there a rational reason for our fear, or are we as Christians supposed to live by a different standard? What does the Bible say about fear? Is it helpful at all in this scenario? It turns out that it is very helpful.
Lets start with Jesus. Throughout his ministry we read of several occasions where he told his disciples to not be afraid. One such situation took place on a boat in the middle of a storm. The disciples felt as if their lives were going to be lost. Yet, Jesus stood up calmly and simply rebuked the storm. Jesus showed us how to master fear. When things seem to be completely out of control, just turn to him.
The Apostle Paul is also very helpful. In his second letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, he writes, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The world has gone in the complete opposite direction of this simple statement. Instead of looking to God during this critical time, we have allowed our fears to master us and take dominion. The church MUST be the exception to the rule.
In closing, I would simply like to quote the Apostle John: “perfect love casts out fear.” What is the secret to overcoming fear of this virus, and everything else in life? Realize that there is a God who loves you, and who is ultimately in control. When you realize the depth of his love, you realize that there really is nothing to fear.