Fear Not the Coronavirus
(This blog was originally written on March 13th, 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak)
We are experiencing a cultural moment of fear, uncertainty, and apprehension unlike almost anything I have seen in my lifetime. The Coronavirus Outbreak is reminiscent of 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, and Pearl Harbor. Historical moments like these are unforgettable because of the intense emotions they elicit.
In moments like this the source of our hope and security is revealed. Much of the time we walk around feeling a sense of control and familiarity with our circumstances but now we realize how fragile all of it is. Security and control are illusions. Anything can happen to you or me at any time, whether or not there is a pandemic spreading throughout the world.
Anything can happen to you or me at any time, whether or not there is a pandemic spreading throughout the world.
What does our response say about where our hope lies? What is the level of our hysteria? We do well to act wisely and cautiously to protect ourselves from harm. But we should be sober, not drunk with fear and confusion. This is an opportunity for followers of Jesus to act in such a way that makes the world say, “What is that?!” “How can that be?!” Why can the church respond in this way?
Our hope is in Christ.
[God] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials… -1 Peter 1:3-6
Our hope is not in the here and now. Our hope is not in this life. Our hope is not in our finances (stock market). Our hope is not in our health. Our hope is in the unchanging, unending, transforming, love of Jesus Christ. The reality that because of what Christ did on the cross we can by faith have eternal peace with God! That ought to be a powerful hope!
Through Jesus we can have peace with God! So we can say with the Psalmist, the Lord is with me; I will not be afraid (Psalm 118:6). We can trust that God is working all things, good and bad, together for our good (Romans 8:28). That is a hope that will combat our anxiety. That is the kind of love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
The church should be ambassadors of peace in the midst of the storm. Representatives of God’s love in the midst of fear. And agents of hope in the presence of despair. For we have peace with God in this life and the next. We can proclaim boldly with Isaiah for all of eternity this promise:
And so, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Let us, as the people of God, NEVER FEAR for God is with us. Jesus is our hope.
(Here is a sermon I preached on dealing with fear in our lives)