No doubt COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus, has been drawing all of our attention since its outbreak in China was reported.
The question then is, will it become a pandemic? The world’s answer is yes, and they have taken drastic measures to try to limit its spread. I write this article on Thursday, knowing that much can and will change by publishing time. For now, the sports world is at a standstill. College basketball tournaments and professional hockey, baseball, soccer and basketball games have all been put on hold. The stock markets are taking a dive. States are issuing orders to limit the numbers allowed at gatherings. Churches and colleges are resorting to online instruction. What are we to do? Is the sky falling? Is the world coming to an end?
Then there is the media, which continually feeds into this monster of fear for all mankind. Of course they will, because it drives viewership and readership. The question is, what is next? What is truth? Not only concerning what the virus will bring, but what is the man or woman of God to think about all this? Do God and His Word have answers for how the Christian is to think and respond to such panic, fear and stress? Of course they do. That is what makes the Bible the Word of God. It is God speaking to us about how to live life. The Word of God has much to say about fear, and it would be wise for you to study this truth. Does God want Christians to live in state of fearfulness? Are we to be gripped and crippled with fear? The quick answer is no, and that is correct. But how do we get to such a position?
Let me first define fear. Noted author and Biblical counselor David Powlison defines fear as the “prediction of the future that doesn’t take into account the sovereignty of a good God.” This is a great definition of human fear. Human fear can only see what it sees, which is really only what is just past its nose. It is consumed with today and has no hope of seeing what is in store for tomorrow. Yet the sovereign, omniscient and good God can see all of our todays and all our tomorrows. Nothing escapes His awareness, and nothing surprises Him. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” Job 28:24 says, “For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.”
Beloved, that is a great comfort for our souls. This is the same God who constantly tells us that He will never leave nor forsake us. The psalmist says in Psalm 56:3–4, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” And I add, what can a mere virus do to you? Sure, you might say, “It will kill you.” But death isn’t the end of life. It is only the beginning of either eternal hell or eternal life. The born-again Christian who has repented of their sins and put their faith in the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ will live and die in His grace, that unmerited favor given to the undeserving. We can’t earn grace, but we sure can receive it. The only way to receive the grace of God is through the salvation of Jesus Christ. That’s it. No wonder King David had such confidence in the Lord when he wrote in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Beloved, as fear reaches to each corner of our lives, remember that you are not alone, and recognize who is in control. May the peace that only Christ can give enable you to walk rejoicing in His tender and kind protection. May you look to share the hope of this peace with others. May you point to this great God, who not only protects and provides for you but is the redeemer of your soul.
Let me leave you with this: Philippians 4:6–7 instructs us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Beloved, trust Him. You have nothing to fear when you believe in Christ. But you have everything to fear outside of knowing Him as Lord and Savior.
Dr. Bear Morton shepherds Christ’s flock at Magic Valley Bible Church, 204 Main Ave. W., Twin Falls. The church has a Christian book store that may be of help to you — open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, go to mvbibletf.org.
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