Over the years, I have dealt with anxiety, but recently I’ve been feeling anxious due to current events. Have you? Tensions are high due to the divisiveness during an election year and the growing threat of the coronavirus. It’s not simply anxiety but inducing fear.
I’ve been trying to remind myself as I can stress over health issues of one of my favorite passages in Psalm 112:6-8, which says, “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.” I often fear because I fill the gaps with negative “what if’s.” Faith is the antithesis of fear. Not only does our health have the potential of being attacked, but our faith is under spiritual attack.
The enemy loves to do as much as possible to not only induce fear but to keep believers from gathering together and encouraging one another, but I believe 1 John 4:4 is clear. John says, “Greater is He (Jesus) that is in me than he that is in the world.” We can have confidence that Jesus has overcome the world, and in Him, we do not need to fear. Please know that my hope in writing this is not to try and shame you into attending church more. Should we? Absolutely we should! We should attend church more for many reasons, but my heart today is to share what we can learn and lean into during this season.
Do not worry, and don’t give way to fear. Does this mean that we do not take precautions? Of course, we do. I truly do not know what the future holds when it comes to the coronavirus, its impact on the lives of those in our community and among our churches. We will keep you informed and as always will be thinking and praying to make wise decisions with your best interest and safety in mind. While that is true, I want to encourage you to press pause and reflect on some biblical truths as well.
Ephesians 5:16 says that we are to make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. What is our opportunity? In our current reality, to lean into the love and safety of our heavenly father who cares for us and is for us. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) As we have conversations about the things happening in our world currently, we should take time to share hope, the love of Jesus, and pray with/for others when appropriate. Now is not the time to panic but instead to trust in the Lord and love people the way that Jesus loves us. Scripture says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2)
What would happen if we, as a faith community, shared with others the hope and the love of Jesus that can be found in these uncertain times? Only He knows, but we can be confident that He will change lives. I am grateful for each one of you, and I pray God protects you.
I look forward to seeing how God uses us in this season. We will also pray God’s protection, deliverance, and healing over our community physically AND spiritually.
P.S. What can I pray for you specifically?
Senior Pastor of Southside Church