The scientific answer is that fast-moving molecules zooming through our gaseous atmosphere work against gravity. Or something like that.
But what’s the practical answer? How do we handle “the sky is falling” mass hysteria? How do we stop fear from swallowing us whole?
Just 10 years ago, we feared losing our jobs, our homes and our savings. Now we’ve got to fear losing our health, too. The coronavirus has us canceling trips, selling stocks, and stockpiling dry goods. All of Italy is on lockdown. March Madness will be played with no fans in the stands. The World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. James Bond—who has foiled the plots of madmen, tycoons and killers—met his match when 007’s next installment, “No Time To Die,” was pushed from April to November.
All this, due to this virus that hopped species in a live animal market 7,000 miles away.
By now you’ve read its scientific name, COVID-19.
You may have also seen its less-technical name, fear. Fear is the worst four-letter f-word there is. It upsets our stomachs and upends our plans. It floods our bloodstream with cortisol and our minds with worry. It spreads like a … virus.
We often put faith and fear on opposite ends of the spectrum. As my pastor says: fear paralyzes. Faith propels.
But here’s another dichotomy in play right now. It’s fear and love. The New Testament book of I John tell us that perfect love drives out fear. The root of this particular word for fear means to avoid, flee or withdraw because of dread. It’s panic flight. In other words, love drives out dread.
So deep breath, everyone. How are we doing?
Is perfect love reigning in our hearts? At our dining room tables? In our social media posts? On our shopping lists? Because this is our time to shine. This is our time to embody Psalm 34:4-5. This is our time to play show and tell with peace.
If you’ve been feeling a little shaky, that’s ok. The Lord regards our humble estate. He knows how hard it is here on earth. He’s not analyzing this from some distant throne. He walked here. He lived here. And in His kindness and wisdom, He reminds us over and over not to fear. Some have said there are 365 “fear not” phrases in the Bible. We are called—commanded, even—to be people who do not fear. Even in crisis. Especially in crisis.
I was reminded the other day of a story involving a mid-19th century “megachurch” pastor. A rising star, young 22-year-old Charles Spurgeon was preaching to a packed house of 12,000 at London’s Surrey Gardens Music Hall. Another 10,000 are said to have gathered outside, straining just to hear sound bites.
Then pranksters yelled, “Fire.”
The panic that ensued as people pushed, fled and trampled their way to “safety” left eight dead and 28 badly injured. The Spurgeon Center records an eyewitness account this way: “The cries and shrieks were truly terrific. They pressed on, treading furiously over the dead and dying, tearing frantically at each other.”
May it not be.
May we not be panic preppers or disaster hunters. May we go in when others flee. May we be people of faith, not fear. May we be steady when the stock market isn’t. May we be informed without being alarmed. May we grasp that the times are historic but we needn’t be hysteric. At the end of every single thing that makes us afraid, may we remember the Lord is there, driving out dread with His love.
I’ve been listening this week. I knew a phrase was coming and sure enough it showed up Monday in a story charting the 2,000-point drop in the Dow. “The sky is falling,” a hedge fund manager declared. It’s the catch phrase in a folk tale that began with an acorn plunking a hen in the head and ended with a fox licking his chops. Even in children’s books, flock mentality doesn’t end well.
The sky is not falling. Gravity won’t let it. And if we’re so close to the Father’s heart of love that we’re driving out dread, we won’t let it either.
It’s our time to shine.
So let’s shine.
~ Deut. 31:8, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 26:3, 43:1, Psalm 34:4-5, 118:6, I Peter 5:7, I John 4:18
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Right on target Laurie!
This is so good! Thank you ❤
Laurie, thank you for your post. People are desperate for comfort, perspective and leadership. Thank you for yours. As the emperor said to Mulan: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”. Esther was the hope of her time. Now it is our time as Christians to exemplify our trust in our Savior with courage and compassion. We live in the times of the signs. This is not the end, but it might be the beginning of the end. Luke 21:9-11,13-15,17-19 CJB And when you hear of wars and revolutions, don’t panic. For these things must happen first, but the end will not follow immediately.” (10) Then he told them, “Peoples will fight each other, nations will fight each other, (11) there will be great earthquakes, there will be epidemics and famines in various places, and there will be fearful sights and great signs from Heaven. (19) but it will prove an opportunity for you to bear witness. (14) So make up your minds not to worry, rehearsing your defense beforehand; (15) for I myself will give you an eloquence and a wisdom that no adversary will be able to resist or refute. (17) and everyone will hate you because of me. (18) But not a hair of your head will be lost. (19) By standing firm you will save your lives.
Wonderfully said, dear Laurie! You articulated so many of my thoughts these days–but so much better! Our mutual friend, Paula, and I texted this evening, and we talked about how in this darkness of fear Jesus can shine more than ever. What a glorious opportunity we now have to radiate his peace and joy and love like never before.
Amen! So beautifully written! May we be brave and courageous in these days!❤
Thank you for the powerful reminder that the sky is most definitely not falling, Laurie. Soon this will be a “remember when” time as 9-11 and SARS are today. It will leave memories from extremely painful loss to laughter from wandering around searching for just four roles of toilet paper. We will tell how the Lord supplied our needs and assured us that He is right where He always is… fully available if we will reach up.
“Fully available if we reach up.” I love that. Thanks for reading, Carole!