Stop…Breathe…Calm Down!

There’s no denying we live in an age of uncertainty. One moment stocks are up, the next, they’re down. One moment we’re feeling safe, and in the next, there’s a rumor of war or a threat to our security. One moment we’re celebrating the “wonders” of modern medicine, science, human achievement, and we’re enjoying a feeling of apotheosis when suddenly we are reminded of how frail we really are.

Recently, a “new” virus came out that could threaten humankind as we know it (definitely a solid premise for a blockbuster movie). Suddenly, everyone has become a germaphobe! People who would not hesitate to leave a public restroom with unwashed hands after having relieved themselves are now sharing hygienic tips they had just learned yesterday. Even more disturbing is the visibly expressed yet internal panic that ensues every time someone sniffles, sneezes, or clears their throat!

Here’s my advice. It’s God’s advice, and it does wonders for the soul. STOP WORRYING! Matthew 6:27 poses the following question “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” or in other words, who can add moments to his or her life by worrying? There is nothing to be gained from it (except, perhaps, a more nervous, restless, fearful, and anxious spirit).

The media stokes and kindles this spirit within us by using combinations of attention-grabbing words we’ve been programmed to respond to (i.e., “Breaking News” “This just in” “Thousands dead” etc.) and trigger words like (“tragedy, crisis, pandemic…etc.) Whether it’s intentional or inadvertent is beside the point. When we pay more attention to bad news uttered by human lips than the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ, we make ourselves more vulnerable to fears that God never gave us! “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” -(2 Timothy 1:7)

In John 14:27, Jesus is quoted saying,  “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”

Jesus gives peace that surpasses understanding. It exceeds our natural ability to rationalize it. His peace leaves people in wonder and perplexity when a believer in Christ is not worried about something the natural mind would be concerned about. On the other hand, the world gives peace by satisfying our senses. Are you hungry or thirsty? Don’t worry. If you live in a first-world country or make enough money, there are hypermarkets and grocery stores everywhere. Oh, so you are poor and struggling? Well, we have reliable programs to help you. We also have food stamps. Are you afraid? If so, you can choose from our line up of security products and services, video surveillance, weapons to defend yourself, self-defense classes, etc. Worried about natural disasters destroying your home, vandalism, or burglary? Check out our insurance products guaranteed to give you peace of mind!

Do you see it? I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to have insurance, video surveillance, learn self-defense, or anything else mentioned above. It’s just that any bit of peace that people can give us is linked to our need to see, feel, touch, etc. Granted, insurance products are a bit different, but the peace that they bring are still linked to our need to retain (continue to see, feel, touch…enjoy) what we own. With Christ, if all we possess is lost, all is not truly lost. We know God gives and takes away. We also know He ultimately owns everything! That is why Christ says in Luke 12:22-26

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

In Philippians 4:6-7, we are advised not to be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. This habit leads to the peace of God, which again surpasses all understanding falling upon us. That very same peace then guards our hearts and minds in Christ.

The peace of the world that satisfies carnal minds will always come through man-made cures and solutions. While the world panics over viruses and plagues, we who believe in the living God know where our help comes from. A virus should not stop us from helping a brother, sister, or neighbor in need (although with Corona, people are distancing themselves from others). Now, don’t get me wrong; we should be wise, but the panic we’re witnessing is unhealthy. (Sidenote: brother, sister, and neighbor, do not always mean literal siblings or someone from whom you live a stone throw away. It can mean anyone you encounter during the day because all human beings are ultimately related). We should undoubtedly exercise prudence in how we handle illness as even the ancient Israelites whom God had rescued out of Egypt understood communal hygiene, disease, and even quarantining long before the first microbiologist was even born! The Bible is AWESOME! Nevertheless, remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. We have the power of a righteous and living God to resist plague and pestilence when we allow Him to be our strength, hope, defense, and God!

Recently, my wife was buying groceries while panic-stricken shoppers all around her were grabbing toilet paper, water, and sanitizing products without a single care for anyone else who might also need them. At one point, she was reaching for an item from a shelf when someone pushed her to grab the last container of Lysol wipes. It is indeed sad because this behavior shows that God’s peace is not upon the world. Most people ignore Him and His teachings. They ‘live off of bread alone’ instead of His word. They store up their treasures on earth, and their hearts are tangled in this world instead of considering the continued existence that comes after this one. They didn’t ask to be born, and yet they were. Yet they fool themselves into thinking there’s nothing after this. There’s no judgment, and therefore, there’s no real purpose. Despite their lives supposedly being devoid of purpose, they still want to live “good” lives, but “good” is what they determine. Therefore, they fool themselves into thinking they’re good people because they don’t do this, don’t do that, and give to charity (for instance).

Any goodness of ours is as filthy rags to God. After all of my sins, I’m not a good person to God. Instead, He loves me despite my shortcomings, and when I love Him back and humble myself, He lifts me. When I confess my sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness, He washes me and cleanses me by the power of the blood He shed 2000 something years ago. I’m not a good person because of my own metrics. Nothing can make me worthy to even bow down to a God who is 100% perfect and judges without bias according to a perfect standard no human being has ever been able to meet. Everything about me that is good is because of the work He is doing in my life.

There have been moments where even I (the person advising you to relax in this crisis) have been concerned about it. Despite those weak moments, I’ve remembered that I serve THE MOST HIGH GOD! Nothing is above Him, nothing is beyond His knowledge and power, and all power and authority are His. Therefore, He can do whatever He pleases though thankfully, He IS righteous, holy, consistent, loving, fair, and everything good. After Him, I am second. We are second. God desires to share His love, peace, and power with us, but we have to turn our hearts to Him to access those things. Whenever I’ve felt the slightest concern over this Corona situation, I’ve spoken with my Heavenly Father (even telepathically because He knows my thoughts), and His peace has returned to me every time.

If you’re worried, get on your knees and pray. Exalt the name of Jesus. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He lives, and He has promised a glorious return someday! If you’re worried, call upon your Heavenly Father. He is the one and only Supreme God who has authority over all and can get us through every situation in life! Nothing is too difficult for Him! Nothing is impossible for Him, and there is no chaotic situation in which He cannot restore peace.

…Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7

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