King David asks a great question in the opening verse of Psalm 27.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27 ESV)
If you are like me, it seems that there is a lot to be fearful of during this Pandemic. Recent projections of the number of people that might contract and possibly die from COVID 19 are a sober reminder of the uncertainty of today. Yet, I am reminded that previous generations faced dangers no less daunting. My parents, like the generation of C.S. Lewis, faced the threat of Nazi Germany and nuclear holocaust during the cold war. Lewis wrote of the fear of his day and reminded his generation that human life has always faced uncertainty and danger. (Insert COVID 19/Pandemic for atomic bomb/atomic age as you read this excerpt.)
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb (COVID 19). “How are we to live in an atomic age (Pandemic)?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb (COVID 19) was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb (COVID 19), let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs (viruses). They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
The point Lewis was making is that the danger of our day is not something new to life on this planet. Life has always been uncertain and prone to disease and disaster. Unfortunately, it is the nature of living in a fallen world affected by the curse of sin. Death is a certainty, no matter our current circumstances. It’s not if, but rather when and how each of us will die. This does not mean that we have to live dominated by fear. Living in fear, no matter the age in which we live, is no way to live. God has not given us a spirit of fear, and while the threats are real and must be taken seriously, we do not need to live in constant fear.
“...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
It is my prayer that you will give your fears and anxious thoughts to God and ask that he replace them with his peace. These are uncertain days, but so were the days of Paul. I am reminded of the words he wrote in Romans 8 to remind us of God’s presence and love in times of uncertainty.
“ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?... (you can add COVID 19) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 ESV)
So do as Paul challenges us to do in Philippians, as he writes from prison.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
Praying that you will experience his peace in the midst of these trying days.
Yours in Christ,
Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church