“For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
We are in the throws of battling Corona virus. We are in the midst of social isolation, panic and shutdown. Life at the moment is surreal. It feels like it should be a film not in our daily lives.
However, as crazy as it seems it is our reality. Fear and panic are rising daily. My own levels of worry are stepping up as well. As I look around and listen to the news it is very easy to sink into fear mode.
When I was reading my bible the other morning this verse stood out among the rest. It is a well known verse and one I have stood on many times for when I need courage. When I battle my inward anxieties and to help with difficult relationships. That morning it stood out to me in a completely new way. It became for me, a practical response to the times we are living in. In this one sentence is a treasure trove of assurance and action.
“For God gave us not a spirit of fear…”
We are in the midst of troubles, circumstances threaten to overwhelm us and the worry we carry for our loved ones all add to real and growing fear. It is key then how we respond when fear swells up within us. This part of the verse reminds me that fear is not from God. I have been encouraged, by the sense of community and people have been looking out for each other, especially our vulnerable and elderly. How there has been call after call for prayer and the sense of humour on display during this time. I believe it is an acknowledgement that we will in fact feel and experience fear but it does not have to overwhelm us.
“…but of power and love…”
Instead of fear, God gives us power and love. We are not powerless. We are not called to ‘batten down the hatches’ but to love even more. We all have a part to play in seeing this pandemic through. Everyone has different positions within society and we are all essential to making sure that we come through this year of 2020 with the love and grace that is needed. I do pray that God empowers us to do more than we ever thought we could and to encourage each other when it seems the darkest.
“…and self control.”
This part of the scripture changes over the many translations. It can also be:
- sound mind
- wise discretion
- sound judgment
During this time we can exercise good decision making. We have been advised to practice social distancing and making sure we wash out hands thoroughly. Sensible steps to ensure that we are all doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. And for those who are in the high risk category, then self isolation for a few weeks is necessary. However, we have all seen the empty shelves, the never-ending ques and the lack of toilet paper. Please don’t read this as an attack, we all have needs and to meet those daily needs we have supermarkets. We must ensure that the those who are in need to be able to this through as well.
There is a level of confusion, unclear direction and media reporting that helps to fuel the sense of fear and panic that we all face. We don’t know how long it will last, or how badly the economy will be affected. There is also the problem of rent/mortgage and how businesses will cope. How the vulnerable and the homeless are cared for. These are all real and important issues and it is in times like these that we truly see the inequalities within society. I hope this will be the wake up call for reform and change.
Despite how we may feel and what we see all around us, let us stand with one another and on the promise that God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power, love and self-control. I pray that He will fill us up with the love to see us and our neighbours through this time. We are all in this together and I thank God for showing me a new perspective and practical way to face each uncertain day that comes.