Fear looms large in a global pandemic. Gloom and doom coverage permeates the airwaves. This virus has forced us to face uncertainty at every turn. We all know and love people who are vulnerable to the coronavirus. That is scary. If you are an elderly person or you have an underlying health condition, this illness can certainly induce anxiety and even panic.
And this crisis isn’t just attacking our health. It is attacking our livelihood.
The stock market has been in a free fall. Portfolios have crashed. Large corporations are restructuring to weather the storm while small businesses fight to stay afloat. Hundreds of thousands of workers with stable jobs just a week ago are on furlough for the foreseeable future. Hospitals and health care professionals are bracing for what could be a tsunami of need.
Life as we know it is not our life right now.
All of this uncertainty is designed by the enemy to induce one thing—fear.
But Scripture tells us that fear is not from God. (2 Timothy 1:7) In fact, as we seek God, He has promised to deliver us from our fears.
Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
We have a choice to make in every crisis. We can choose fear, or we can choose faith.
But how do we choose faith?
Start by seeking the Lord. Submit every fear you face concerning this crisis to Him. Get on your knees, name your fears one by one, and say, “Father I give this fear to you.” And know that God is committed to delivering you from them all.
When life is running smoothly, we are tempted to think that we are masters of our own destiny. Chaos from a pandemic strips the veil from our eyes. Suddenly we see what was there all along, but we just didn’t realize it…
We aren’t in control.
Not even a little bit. That can be frightening—until you realize Who is.
He is in control of your health, your finances, your life, your world.
When fear looms large, recognize that you’ve placed your trust in the wrong source. The government, your health, your bank account, your job—those aren’t bad things, but putting your trust in those things is...because they will fail you.
The Apostle Paul, who suffered imprisonment, beatings, snake bites, and shipwrecks, gives us great assurance from our heavenly Father saying, “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:10)
My pastor, Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands, quoted this verse in our Sunday service, which took place for the first time entirely online. He encouraged us to make this declaration:
“He will continue.”
I encourage you to do the same.
Affirm that God is in control. He has delivered us in the past. He will deliver us now. And He will continue to deliver us in the future.
We all love the story of Jesus speaking peace to the stormy waters in Mark 4, but we know how that story ends. It’s easy to forget that the disciples didn’t. Mark 4:37 says, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” Jesus’ followers were terrified, and rightfully so. They were on the verge of drowning.
We all want to experience God’s peace, but we cannot experience His peace until we first comprehend His power. And we cannot comprehend His power without a storm. These two attributes of God go hand-in-hand.
Rev. Billy Cerveny says, “When you read the story of the Bible, chaos is never evidence of God’s absence. It’s the arena in which He moves. It is where He dwells. If that’s true then, it’s true now.”
God’s power dwells in chaos because that is where we see Him most clearly. His power is most evident when we recognize how powerless we are...when we realize that without Him, we will drown.
A global pandemic that has brought civilization to a stand-still is the perfect place for God to display His power. And it is the perfect place for us to experience His peace, which is a peace the world cannot offer, a peace that transcends our circumstances and our understanding. (John 14:27, Philippians 4:7)
Don’t miss the opportunity to grasp the magnitude of God’s power in this crisis, and to receive His peace.
Years ago, I taught a women’s Bible study on what I like to call our faith flight panel. I was intrigued by how pilots learn to fly by the complex system of instruments on the plane’s dashboard. When visibility is non-existent, when there is no horizon, when storms rage and all else fails, those instruments will guide a pilot safely to their destination.
But those instruments only work if a pilot knows how to use them.
As Christians, we have a flight panel to use when we can’t find the horizon, when violent winds toss us to and fro. Our instruments are the promises in the Word of God. His Word will not fail us. It will guide us safely home.
Assemble your instruments. Collect them now. Keep them nearby. Pray them often.
“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” (Psalm 91:3-6)
The secret to God’s deliverance lies in the first two verses of Psalm 91, which say, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.”
Dwell in God’s shelter, and you will find rest for your soul. Declare that he is your refuge and fortress, and your faith will grow.
I used a Scripture song by Esther Mui to memorize Psalm 91 with my kids. And I’ve created some songs of my favorite verses that you can download here and add to your faith flight panel.
Rely on God’s Word when fear presses in. Hide His Word in your heart—it is the only solid foundation for your life.
To stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19, we must slow down the pace of life. Many of us don’t have a choice about this directive. Unless you work in the government, the media, health care, or a few other choice industries, your life is simplifying. Many industries have screeched to a precipitous halt.
Church gatherings are canceled. School is canceled. Extra-curriculars are canceled. Life as we know it is canceled.
This virus has forced many of us to do what we won’t do, what we can’t do, ordinarily. It has forced us to slow down.
My kids are freaking out about not seeing their friends, but I’ve decided to embrace this simple season. We’re going to catch up on lingering projects. We’re going to spring clean early. We’re going to connect with each other more often. We’re going to eat meals together, regularly.
We’re going to read more, rest more, play more, and pray more.
If the coronavirus has drastically altered your schedule from a break-neck frenzy to a snail’s pace, embrace the change. You probably need it.
We all want to be self-sufficient. We don’t like to lean on others. But in a crisis, we need to lean on those around us.
While some industries are furloughing tens of thousands of workers, others are working 24/7. Then there are those in the high-risk health categories who have become complete shut-ins during this crisis.
We ALL need to depend on each other. And that isn’t a bad thing. Scripture tells us that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
The New Testament church was in constant crisis. Leaning on each other was a necessity, and not only did that benefit the body of Christ, it benefited the individuals in the body. We are designed to need each other.
Being dependent on others doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. And remember, you will bless others if you let them minister to you in your time of need. (Galatians 6:2)
For those who find that they have extra time in this crisis, look for ways to meet the needs of others. Consider who might need help with their kids. Who needs a meal or some groceries to get by? Who needs someone to check in and see if they’re ok? Who needs to know that you care and that you are praying for them?
Be proactive. Ask the Lord who needs your help, and be God’s hands and feet to them.
Nothing feels better at the end of the day than making a difference in someone’s life. Blessing someone else will always turn around and bless you. (Philippians 2:3-4)
8. The Blessing of Unity
It’s no secret that our country is sharply divided. Flaring tempers between parties and political positions rage while church members take sides. It can be disheartening.
But in a crisis, none of that matters. Or it shouldn’t. There will be some who try to score political victories off of a crisis like this, but most people will put those differences aside to take care of their neighbors. (Psalm 133:1)
You can be someone who chooses to love your neighbor. Not just now in the crisis, but always.
As coronavirus threatens to destroy life and livelihood, it should bring out the best in us. Let it bring out the best in you. Let it unify us.
Viewed through the right lens, the coronavirus crisis can be a conduit of blessings to you and through you to others. Don’t miss those opportunities to grow and allow God’s blessings to flow.
Catherine Segars is an award-winning actress and playwright—turned stay-at-home-mom—turned author, speaker, blogger, and motherhood apologist. She is matron of the Mere Mother website, which delves into critical issues that marginalize mothers in our culture. This homeschooling mama of five is dedicated to helping mothers see their worth in a season when they often feel overwhelmed and irrelevant. You can find Catherine’s blog, dramatic blogcast, and other writings at www.catherinesegars.com and connect with her on Facebook.