“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18 (NKJV)
Love never fails, it never gives up, only pursues what it set out to do. The antidote to fear is the Prince of Peace. At some point in your life you need to not just know that God loves you but believe it. Way back in 1932 Roosevelt told the people that they had nothing to fear but fear itself. Each of us can control our emotional life. There is always something out there that could bring us harm but it’s important to keep your head and focus instead on our God who is always in control.
Psalm 138:3 speaks of crying out to God. When we cry out to God for change, He often answers in a way we don’t expect. God often changes us instead of our circumstances, strengthening us and developing our capacity to persevere through difficulties.
Psalm 23:4 reminds us that even when we are in a deep, dark, gloomy valley devoid of life and full of dangers, God is with us. Don’t be frozen with fear or paralysed by panic because we will make it to the other side. This is not to suggest that we be thoughtless or reckless but that the basis of our response to situations like COVID-19 be faith and love for others, not fear and suspicion.
God did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) but promises that He can make all things work together for good. So, if you are panicked, it is not a good time to make decisions. Take the time to calm down and consider what you would decide if everything was fine. God is working and nothing we face can stop the power that raised Jesus from the dead.
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
We do not deny the reality or seriousness of situations like COVID-19 and we certainly don’t judge those who get sick. But the love described in the Bible casts out fear and replaces it with the presence of God.
Isaiah 41 offers us 5 antidotes to our fears:
- Abandonment: Is one of the deepest fears people have and it can be aggravated by calls to “self-isolate” but God promises that “I am with you”. There is nowhere you can go that God cannot get to you. He is with you and His presence is something you can experience for yourself.
- Disappointment: Is a very difficult thing to deal with. Maybe things didn’t happen in the way that you wanted but “be not dismayed” and switch on your faith. Moses went and told the Israelites that they were free from slavery in Egypt. This was not instant however, it took about a year of further hardships to get to that deliverance. Lift up your eyes and trust God is working for your good.
- Weakness: God says “I will strengthen you”. When God is with you, He gives you strength to get through.
- Helplessness: God says “I will help you”. God Himself, the creator of the universe will come and help you when you ask. Many people out there are praying for help so keep yourself open to being that help for them; be an answer to prayer.
- Failure: God says “I will uphold you”. Everyone fails sometimes. Some of the most successful people in history have a long string of failures before they finally achieve their goals. It builds resilience to fail and not give up, to keep going and God doesn’t abandon us just because we failed at something.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- Share God’s promises that have helped you master your emotions in the past.
- What are some practical ways we can care for people around us who are being frozen by fear?
- What do you think God is trying to teach you at the moment? Where are you growing in your relationship with Him?
- What would you say to someone who asks why you are not panicking? How could you share your heavenly perspective?