“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere”
When we’re afraid, we often try to keep busy.
When we’re “doing something” we feel as if we’re in control. Like when we “panic buy” at the supermarket.
Yet I think it’s critical at the moment that simply stop and take stock. Can I encourage you to take the time to think through the fears that are at work in your heart (and in our community). Write them down, talk to the Lord about them, and prayerfully think through how best to respond in ways that are constructive and glorifying to God. Worry can either make things worse, or worry can lead us toward the peace of God which surpasses all understanding…
Indeed, Paul encourages us to “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).
So much of the battle against fear comes down to where we are looking.
Over the next couple of weeks, our minds will be constantly drawn to the next article, or the next update about where the virus is and what we need to do. There will be an endless stream of content ready to feed our fear and it will be critical for us to combat this by turning again and again to our hope in Christ. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke against this kind of fear:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:25,27).
This is an opportunity to exercise our faith – to show that our feet are planted on solid rock. If being a Christian doesn’t mean something to us in the face of a deadly disease, then it doesn’t really mean anything. As our world is confronting their mortality, some for the first time, we have the choice to either place our faith in the hope of Christ or to mirror the fear of those who do not share this hope.
CS Lewis captures this choice well in his 1948 essay on the atomic bomb…