COVID-19 has upended all of our lives. With local schools shuttered and parents left scrambling to find daycare so they can work, both employees and employers are feeling the impact of the uncertainty that is gripping our community. With each day bringing a new and deeper reason for concern we may be feeling overwhelmed, even fearful.
Sometimes fear can be healthy, like following the commonsense guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, as well as hand hygiene and social distancing suggested by the CDC. However, unhealthy fears are causing anxiety in our stores with empty shelves and shortened tempers. While fear and anxiety seem to be closing in on us from all sides, we can find reason for hope in four Bible verses.
First, “O LORD, you will establish peace for us, since you have done everything for us.” (Isaiah 26:12) Knowing that the Lord is at work in the midst of trying times gives us peace. While fear stirs uncertainty within us, knowing that the Lord is present in the midst of our uncertainty gives us the hope we need. Placing our hope and faith in Christ allows us to taste the fruit of a new and living hope that brings us peace knowing he has done everything for us.
Second, faith frees us from the fear that can overwhelm us when the outcome is uncertain. While no one knows the timeline of this pandemic, there is something that we can know when our hope is in Christ, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”(1 John 4:4) We have hope knowing that the victory has already been won. Though the pressures of this life try to squeeze anxious thoughts out of us – we can stand strong knowing that “the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
Third, knowing and understanding that hope is found in God through Christ, we can take the next step and, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) I am not told to cast my cares into a cold void of nothingness, but into the loving arms of the Lord who cares for me. My prayer is that you can claim this hope for yourself.
Have you placed your hope and faith in the Christ alone? If not, then it’ll be hard to rid yourself of your anxious thoughts. Why? Because until we experience God’s love for us revealed in Christ, we’re bound to remain lost in the uncertainty of life and will be tempted to be fearful of the things of this world. Peter says we can have hope knowing that the Lord cares for us; coming as dearly loved children and laying on him whatever is burdening us. What is burdening you in the face of COVID-19? Financial worries? Relationship troubles? Health concerns? You can cast them all on Him because he cares for YOU!
Now, having realized the peace that is mine in Christ, knowing He has won the victory and having released my grip on the worries that have plagued me, I can arrive at my destination, “do 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 minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Can you feel your muscles relax as you realize the hope that can be yours in Christ?
Paul isn’t telling the church to forget about their troubles or to not worry about them. No, he says to take up these anxious thoughts and give them to the Lord with THANKSGIVING. How can we do this? By remembering the hope that we began with – That God is with us and that, “The Lord will not abandon his people; he will not desert those who belong to him. (Psalms 94:14) Those who have placed their faith in Christ have hope knowing that they are not alone.
So how can we navigate through these difficult times with hope? By realizing that the hope we need will never come from circumstances but from the Lord alone. Remember, that while the news about the coronavirus may fill us with uncertainty, the hope that Christ gives to those who trust in Him is certain, it’s eternal. We will have peace when our trust is in Him.
Eldon Peterson is pastor of the Cache Valley Bible Fellowship. His column appears on the Faith page. He can be reached at email@example.com.