By Paul Curtas
The news focusing on the latest statistics about the Coronavirus and where it may be heading next has captured the attention of millions around the world. We hear how many are being infected by it, and sadly, how people have died from it. All this is having a paralyzing effect on many. This is not only impacting the lives of people personally, but also it has affected areas of commerce where business is being cancelled. On top of this, the airline industry worldwide has taken a hard hit, flights are being cancelled and employees are not working as much, which means reduced pay. We are watching the make-shift securities, that seem to support, protect and comfort our lives, slowly erode away.
Life’s afflictions show us our vulnerability and how sudden life can change. Before we realize it, they produce a growing fear within that begins to paralyze us. We become anxious and scared of the slightest threatening news. It can stall us from making the necessary daily decisions of life, or we start making premature decisions primarily based on fear. Life then becomes edgy, hemmed in by our fears.
Fear is a big part of our emotional make-up. It has its bad and good sides. For example, if I see a tree starting to fall toward me… out of fear, I would run away from it, so it couldn’t harm me. This is a healthy fear. But if I continue to dwell on this event and play it over and over in my mind, it can make me a fearful person staying away from trees, thinking they could hurt me. Though such fears are not realistic and probably will never happen, being preoccupied with fears will only breed more fear and overcome us.
So how should we view and respond to real threats… like the coronavirus? First, do not become overly obsessed by all the news reports. These reports can be overstated and listening to them constantly breeds fear. Instead, act responsibly and use precaution by following common sense health guidelines of hygiene. We should not think that trusting God means I can become naïve to danger and evil and simply ignore it. No, actually the opposite, in God’s Word we are told when danger is approaching to turn away or hide, or you could be hurt by it (Proverbs 22:3). But God knows when our minds become focused on fearing things, it will change our motivation. We will do things out of fear, and eventually it shapes our character and we become driven by fear. So God invites us to enter into the greatest fear, that of fearing Him. The Bible speaks repeatedly of the importance of “fearing the Lord.” When we “fear” God, we respect and trust His ways and provisions. It does not make us more fearful, because we understand His great power and His love for us (1 John 4:16-19). Actually, fearing God is what dispels all of the other fears that enslave us.
Has fear in some way gripped your life? God has not promised us that life will be easy and untouched by trials and adversities. Jesus told us that in this world we will have tribulations, but to take courage. He promises to give us His peace and power to sustain us in the midst of afflictions so that we can overcome them (John 16:33). David in Psalm 23:4 spoke about the Lord leading us through the valley of the shadows of death… and because of this, David said… I will fear no evil. May God help us to learn more how to “fear Him” as we make our journey through this life.
“In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence.” (Proverb 14:26)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverb 9:10)