03 Apr Dealing With Fear During Unprecedented Times
With the spread of the coronavirus, many hearts are unsettled, and it grows by the day with news of infection and death rates rising. It is evident people are fearful, even as leaders tell us not to fear. And due to fear, people are doing and saying things irrationally. People are hoarding goods, people are angry with those who still gather, or who eat together. People are frustrated with those not wearing mask, or who does not practise social distancing. People are giving all sorts of suggestions, both rational or irrational ones, to their leaders. Now, it is common to fear. It is only second nature to our sinful humanity. And as much as we try to fight it, we know it is not possible. Some might even think that it is right to be fearful because it propels us to be more careful.
I remember vividly in 2003 when me and wife to be were planning for our wedding. It was during the SARS period. And just 5 days before our big day. My wife came down with a fever that does not subside. All kinds of fearful insinuations just grip at our hearts. Our thoughts run wild. “Can we still have our wedding? What if we go to a doctor and my wife-to-be were quarantined? And whose gonna be my bride then?” But after struggling through so much, we went to a doctor, and that doctor was much more “chill”. I could still remember what the doctor said: “C’mon, you don’t have SARS just because you have a fever that doesn’t subside. There are so many reasons for a non-subsided fever.” Then, he just gave us some medication. And eventually, we went through with our matrimony by the grace of God. Now, that was 17 years ago, but it impressed upon me a few things.
Our humanity is helpless toward fear.
There is no way we could fight it, given that situation
Fear makes us selfish.
It makes us self absorbed. When we are fearful, we would only think about our own situation: “What if I got the virus, what if I was quarantined? What if things turn out bad for me”. Now, its all about me, myself and I. Everyone gets personal when they’re fearful. Everyone starts saying: “Pls consider my situation! Oh pls, I am suffering more than anyone of you!” And then when everyone starts blaming everyone for things that gone wrong, and in this case for the viral infection that runs wild, the whole world is turned into a mess.
That is the result when humanity is left to handle fear in their own way. The fact is none of us – no government, no leaders, no doctors, no scientist are wise enough to handle this situation that we are having now. So let us not try to be too wise in our own eyes. Let us not be a fool by being too absolute or too critical in these unprecedented times.
For <Psalm 18:27> says: God save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
<1 Peter 5:6-7> says: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
As the verse implies, even in your anxiety, God cares for you! The last thing we would want to do in this unprecedented times is to release all our anxieties through the internet or to the people around us, which often makes everyone more distress. In contrary to doing so, would be to humble ourselves and go back to the Word of God for guidance, trust in His promise and react with love.
The last thing we would want to do in this unprecedented times is to release all our anxieties through the internet or to the people around us, which often makes everyone more distressed.
Now, you may ask: In these times, what is God pointing us to? The simple answer is: God is pointing us to faith in Him. Let us read a familiar story in the Bible to remind us what God can do, and will do in a storm.
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
Now, I believe with all my heart that the Lord who calms the storm then, will calm the storm today. He can and He knows how to calm the storm, and He can and He knows how to dissipate the Coronavirus in His time and in His way.
Take a moment to think about this. Even as fishermen who would have weathered storms before, the disciples were grip with fear when confronted with another one. You see, every storm is a new storm. It seems unprecedented. And that shows that none of us can be too complacent with what we’ve known and experienced. Therefore, in our fears, in our distress, in our uncertainties, ask ourselves what makes us so fearful? Is it for fear of losing our job? Our relationship? Our pride? Our prosperity? Our health? Or our security? Now, we have value these things so much, that’s why we are giving in to an unprecedented fear now.
When they put their eyes on Him, their fear of the storm changed into the fear of the Lord.
But what doesn’t change in the storm? The presence of our Lord Jesus. The One who creates the universe, the One who holds the world together, even at this time. Our Lord Jesus was in the storm and He calmed the storm. And the disciples were then filled with both fear and amazement. “Who is He?” they asked. And when they put their eyes on Him, their fear of the storm changed into the fear of the Lord.
Now, in this time where the world is fearing, my brethren, it is not a time to cry out in fear. Rather, it is a time to fear the Lord, it is a time to pray that the world will look to the Lord with fear and amazement. I bless you with His word.