The line started at the front door and snaked into the parking lot. It crossed two rows of parking stalls and grew steadily as more cars filled the lot.
The store wouldn’t open for another 30-minutes but the crowd had formed, posed to rush the door.
The chatter in the line was somber, serious – food was running out, supplies were scarce; some shared their fabricated theories of an unknown future.
The virus had succeeded in capturing the world’s attention. Media inspired messaging had accomplished its task. Anxiety, fear, and panic controlled these shoppers, the larger community, the globe.
I spoke with the store manager and in addition to talking about his exhaustion, he commented,
I just don’t understand! Do we really need to stockpile food? Is there that much fear in the world that we have to push and shove to get the last package of frozen peas? It says something about who we are as a community, as people.
Fear is a compelling partner.
On one end of the spectrum, it provides the needed kick to infuse our bodies with adrenaline. Allowing us to outrun the aggressive dog, step on stage and share our hearts, or stand strong in the face of the bully.
But at the other end of the continuum, fear can incapacitate our lives. All rational thought and reasoning are overwhelmed by the possibility of an unknown event and as a result, we are enslaved, trapped in what could happen – may happen – what we’ve contrived to happen.
The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 31:8,
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
New International Version (NIV)
In times of great uncertainty, one constant remains, one truth we can hold to, God will not abandon us.
In the face of a virus pandemic – God is the great healer.
During a free fall of the stock market – God remains in control.
When the grocery store shelves are empty – God provides.
And when anxiety overcomes you, keeps you awake at night, gnaws at your daily thoughts – God’s peace is available.
The world may feel unsafe and out of control but security, true security, is not tied to this world. Security comes from a personal intimate relationship with the God of the universe. The One who has promised, since the creation of the world, to love and provide.
(1) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (2) Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, (3) though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46: 1-3 (NIV)
BeLOVED, I encourage you to cling to the only constant that can bring real peace in times of mass anxiety and fear – God.
Corrie ten Boom faced unimaginable fear. When the Nazis threatened to imprison her, she continued to help Jews escape the horrors of the Holocaust. And even after she was arrested and sent to a prison camp, she continued to serve God. It is said that Corrie and her family helped some 800 Jews in spite of their fear and the real threat of death.
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
These are certainly unknown times but…
You know God – rest in His faithfulness, His goodness, His mercy and grace.
You are known by God – you are His child.
Trust God – He loves you.
- When you feel fear and panic rise, pray.
- When the nights linger and you can’t sleep, read God’s word, listen to worship music.
- When you are tempted to believe that God is not responding or He doesn’t care, remember that He sent His only Son to die for your eternity.