Do Not Be Afraid

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Over the last couple of months, there has developed a Coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) epidemic that started in China and has spread throughout the earth.  Because it has spread throughout the world, they have changed it from an epidemic to a pandemic.  A pandemic happens when, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), new (novel) influenza A viruses emerge which are able to infect people easily and spread from person to person in an efficient and sustained way.  It does not speak to how the influenza virus affects us, simply that it is new and spreads rapidly and efficiently.  I believe that people have exaggerated the effect information because of how the word has been presented to us.  Now, I am no medical doctor and will not discuss the illness in any detail.  But what I want to address is the fear that is being experienced by so many people.  Yes, there are many things we need to be careful of.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the primary way the virus is passed from one person to another is through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Yes, we may get ill and we should take the proper precautions to avoid being infected or infecting others.  However, should we fear it?

There are so many things we can be afraid of in this world.  I imagine if we were to put a list of what we fear, it would be longer than we could have imagined.  According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of fear is an unpleasant emotion or thought we have when we are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen.  We can become afraid because of a strong storm that is eminent, not being able to find something we own and treasure, or simply because of a sound we have heard.  And I understand that there will be times where we become afraid due to a sudden effect that startles us.  It is a natural reaction.  But it is important that we not continue or live in this fear.  We know when we are in fear because we lack peace, for our minds are focused on the problems rather than the positives.  The apostle Paul wrote the following to the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6-7.  When we find ourselves afraid of anything, we need to lift these up to God.  He will then bring us peace by showing us we need not be afraid.  In fact, Jesus Himself told His disciples, which extends to us Christians as well, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27.  He told them not to be fearful, for the same reason God told Joshua not to fear, for God is always with them.

We must never forget that God is with us all the time.  “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.  We must share this truth to everyone we have the opportunity to speak with.; to both Christians and non-Christians.  We can do much to encourage believers during difficult times, as we find ourselves in with this coronavirus epidemic.  Many are afraid they will catch it, but they need to remember God is in control and knows what is best for us and will make it happen.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.  We must believe that God, being in control and all powerful, loves us so much that no matter what happens, our best will be the result.

And for non-Christians, what a beautiful way to show our belief and trust in God,  I am not anxious about this Coronavirus epidemic, because I know God has this under His control, and as stated above, our good as well.  We may not see it as good, but we must always focus on the fact that a good will be the outcome.  When a non-believer sees our faith in God, and the fact we are at peace through all our trials, this may open an opportunity to share the gospel.  And who is to say this is not the good intended, with many unbelievers questioning their current beliefs.

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