The News: US returns to 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a day and officials warn pandemic will only get worse (CNN)
God: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.John 14:27
The News: Covid Fear Will Keep the World in a Slump – As governments let up on stimulus measures, things stand to get worse. (Bloomberg)
God: 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 4:6-9
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Folks, I cannot add anything to God’s Word, but I would like to offer advice on how to apply this to our lives.
Commands to Combat Anxiety
First, we must recognize that the words in these passages are commands. We are told “do this” and “don’t do that”, and these are contradictory to the way many think about our lives.
We often hear people say things like “I can’t help how I feel”. To that notion I have 2 responses:
God would not command you to do something you cannot do. God knows us better than we know ourselves. In Psalms 103 we are told, “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”
Humanly speaking, the “I can’t help the way I feel” sentiment is right, but faith does not call us to think humanly.
Running on Batteries
I am typing these words on a battery-powered notebook computer. It tells me I have 2 hours and 15 minutes of power left, and my experience tells me this is a wildly optimistic estimate.
Even if it were true, or better yet, a much too conservative estimate, I have to face the fact that I am limited in the time I can work on this computer.
As the battery edges closer and closer to failure, I am warned by the system that battery failure in imminent, and I am repeatedly encouraged to plug the computer into an electrical outlet. That is the way I suggest you look at your heart in these trying times.
Spiritual Warning Signs
If we read all the gloomy headlines and are greatly distressed, then we need to recognize that as a warning sign that we are running on our own power and running low on that.
Not too long ago, I discovered a new reading of the Bible. I know there are many, many versions on the market, but I would encourage you to listen to one read by the British actor and fellow believer, David Suchet.
Suchet is best known for playing Agatha Christie’s brilliant detective, Hercule Poirot in a series that lasted 24 years, but he described his audio recording of the Bible to be “his biggest role.”
Stop and Listen
Let me suggest you to do this one thing today: Stop everything you are doing and listen to the first 7 Psalms. Sometimes I have the text on the screen and read along, and other times I will close my eyes and let the words wash over me.
This is only a start, but it is a first step to correcting your thinking. Every time you feel anxiety, you need to plug in to the words of the God who loves you and knows you are dust.
The Two Wolves
I will leave you for now, with this oft-repeated story about a Cherokee Indian teaching his grandson about life:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
”He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.” ”The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
If we are full of anxiety and fear, let me suggest we are feeding the wrong wolf.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23