Fear of the Unknown
A person much younger than me inquired the other day, “Pam, have you ever seen anything like this coronavirus pandemonium?” Maybe she asked because she was hoping I’d give a few words of encouragement. Or maybe she asked because in her young mind, in ALL my years (ha) maybe I HAD seen a time like this. And the answer was no, I had not.
I do, however, remember an incident when I was in elementary school. Looking out the kitchen window, I saw workmen tearing up our concrete driveway. Daddy was installing an underground—very, very deep—bomb shelter. It was during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union were at a standoff concerning nuclear power. The entire change in atmosphere both at school and home scared me a bit. One day all was perfect in my eyes as a child where safety prevailed; then the next day, a pervasive FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN loomed in my midst. Kind of sounds like what we’re experiencing right now with the coronavirus, doesn’t it? It’s frightening. I actually don’t know which is more toxic—the virus or the fear.
Fear is the deadliest of emotions. It gets to us on every level of our being because we feel so vulnerable. Fear can’t be reasoned with. It’s a distress that begins in our mind, which if left unchecked, permeates its poison into our reasoning senses. It leaves us feeling helpless in harnessing its rage. About fear Max Lucado said, “It goes for our weakest part leaving us with a perceived sense of darkness.” I’ve experienced fear at that level. Have you?
I guarantee the lady I encountered at Walmart yesterday was feeling a heightened measure of fear as she shoved me a bit and grabbed a package of toilet paper. I GET IT! I GET IT! Some are worried about their kids’ well-being, loss of savings, their jobs, or the disease itself. There’s no getting around it. Fear is an ever-present tormentor for all of us, but thankfully God has given us another way to ride through times of adversity like the one we’re in now.
While reading in God’s Word about the prophet Daniel after he had been taken captive in Babylon, four words jumped off the page concerning how he positioned himself to face impending danger. It records that Daniel “made – up – his – mind” to keep His eyes on God. It was a deliberate choice that did not happen casually. It was intentional. Purposeful. One where I’m sure it was a fight at times as to which one would win. Likewise, our antidote to fear is “making – up – our – mind” that we will bend our thoughts to the side of trusting our Father with the broader outcome rather than leaning on the side of counting fear’s endless possibilities. Little did Daniel know that soon he’d be thrown into the den of lions by the king; yet, the foundation of his predetermined choice closed the mouths of the lions.
Friend, I don’t know what tomorrow holds with this virus. But this one thing I do know: Since God is greater than my deepest fears, I’ve “made – up – my – mind” that reliance on Him will be my position and prayer my practice.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.