God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear
By now we have all seen many inspirational posts on social media reminding us that God is in control and our faith will see us through this. They tout we should choose Faith over Fear and Peace over Panic. While these shiny words of encouragement may make us feel better for a minute, they do little to address the panic descending on our nation because of the spread of COVID-19.
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By Sue Brage
People are worried, fearful and yes, panicked. I admit to falling prey to this myself, as I worried about not having bread or eggs or heaven-forbid half-and-half for my coffee!
This is not a world we are used to in America.
We expect to have what we want, any time we want it! Having to wait or go without feels like a crisis.
Just the other day in the grocery store, I was standing in the cereal aisle. Even though I wasn’t stressed I could literally feel the panic in the air.
As I reflected on this and how to deal with the widespread pandemic of fear we are facing, the word that came to me wasn’t peace. It wasn’t faith (even though that makes a great alliteration!). It was love.
Love is the antidote to the panic and fear surrounding us.
Love is the answer for us as believers and it is the answer for those around us.
First John 4:18 tells us that his “perfect love casts out all fear.” God’s perfect love for us—and for others—is what we need to focus on during this time! His amazing, overwhelming love will calm our fears and give us peace, comfort, security and compassion.
As we spend time with him, we can experience his love in a very real and very personal way.
God’s love is more than a nice sentiment or comforting thought. It gives us confidence and courage in the face of even the worst circumstances.
Consider Romans 8:35-39 from The Passion Translation:
Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles… There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
What a reminder that God’s love is present in the midst of these troubling times. Nothing we face or will face has the power to separate us from the most important thing in life-his love for us. While we may be separated from others through social distancing, from family or friends due to travel restriction or quarantine, even co-workers and our church community, we can never be separated from his love.
I challenge you in these coming weeks and months of stress and uncertainty:
- Make space to simply rest in his love through prayer, worship or by just sitting quietly in his presence.
- Spend time looking up verses on his love for you, write them down, memorize them.
- Believe that you can experience a deeper knowledge and awareness of his love, and be absolutely convinced that nothing can separate you from him.
Here are some verses to get you started:
Philippians 2:1 Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy.
Ephesians 3:18 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!
Father God, we thank you for your presence in this time. We praise you that you have not forgotten or forsaken us, and you never will. Above all, we thank you for how you love us, unconditionally, intimately, personally, sacrificially, constantly. Help us to drink deeply from your love to nourish our hearts and souls as we face the challenges that may come. Let your love fill us to overflowing that we would be ready to reach out in love to those around us who need our help and support. Thank you for every opportunity we have to share your love and compassion in the coming months, amen.
I currently serve OMF (U.S.) in the role of Vice President for Communications. My passion is to help OMF share our mission and vision in fresh and relevant ways and to help others communicate well for his kingdom. As a writer and a leader, my heart is to encourage each of us to draw closer to Jesus and his purposes for us.
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