I wouldn’t be very honest if I didn’t share that I also flocked to the grocery store stocking up on three weeks worth of food, that I wasn’t watching the news updates for the daily corona-spread counts like it was my day job, and feeling the anxiety of an impending apocalypse that I’ve never quite felt before. My imagination raced to an extreme of the conveniences we’re used to such as grocery stores, utilities, or transportation no longer in existence with fear for how would our generation continue to survive. The isolation of staying home with rain and gloom didn’t help either. 

I have been so worried for our vulnerable population who is susceptible to the risks of this virus, our medical providers who are on the frontlines of combatting this illness, our leadership making tough decisions, and our Churches as well as organizations who rely on the community to serve the community. Two key moments really sunk in the reality of what we’re dealing with for me and that is when they closed our church and in our online classroom for my children a parent commented that 2020 will be a year to remember. 

I was hit with a wave of guilt that my God tells me not to fear and here I am being a part of the problem- and not the solution. To have fear is to have a lack of Faith. We should be encouraging one another and speaking life into this situation in Jesus’ name. We have scripture after scripture that reminds us that our God is always with us, to build each other up, and to release our anxiety:

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9

Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. - II Corinthians 1:4

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:7

I’d say it’s human nature to react this way to try and feel like we have control over the situation. It’s easy to have three weeks of food in the pantry and enough toilet paper to last you until 2022- but that won’t make the virus go away. The only thing that will make this virus go away is Jesus. We have to remember that God is in control and His will is what will be done- regardless of how much we futilely try to control the situation. 

We can remember that Our God is the same God He was two thousand years ago, 100 years ago, yesterday, today, and however many more years that are numbered before us. He reminds us constantly in the Bible that He will always provide for our basic needs: 

Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them.-Matthew 6:31-32

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.-Luke 12:31

Fear is the unknown, fear is a reaction to the reality that we’ve never done something before or we’ve never experienced something before. When we jump into the situation head first it helps us exercise our muscles of resilience and better prepares us for obstacles that we will always face throughout our lives. 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.-Romans 5:3-5

I truly believe this worldwide event can be used as a spiritual revival. This is a time more than ever for people to turn from their wills and submit to Jesus. God will use this for His glory. In this time of suffering it’s touching to see the way our community is helping each other. We can take this time to focus on our relationships, spend special time with our children, rely more on our ingenuity than modern convenience, and center back on the basics.

Most of our fear likely comes from the fear for our lives and the fear of losing our belongings should we encounter financial dilemmas from this virus. However God assures us that our basic needs will always be met and to focus on Him- not materials. He assures us that this life is not the end. Even if we aren’t affected directly by the virus, I do think it’s been a reality that we need to get out of our comfort zone- that we aren’t invincible and neither is this world.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.-Romans 8:18

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.-Luke 12:31

We can find the positive and the gratitude in anything- we should always praise Jesus. The current conditions we face are something most of us have never experienced in our human history. I truly believe a lot of us let fear control our decisions, such as fear of not being capable; fear of not being good enough; fear of getting hurt; the list goes on. We are only here one time, with one chance to pursue our dreams for the ability to glorify God and serve the kingdom. My hope is that we will walk out of this pandemic and on the other side we will live our life in Faith and less in fear. Pursue your faith and dreams relentlessly. 

and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:15

God didn’t promise a life void of trouble, but He did promise He would be there through all of our tribulations. If we didn’t have troubles we wouldn’t need God, we wouldn’t remember God, and then what would be the point. I believe in miracles, signs & wonders from the Lord, and I believe that He will get the glory from this. I believe in a culture that has ever distanced itself from the gospel that God is reaching out to us and it’s time for us to answer. Please praise and worship like you’ve never done before, please keep lifting your prayers up for this world, please help how you can even if it’s just words of encouragement to someone who needs them, and please share the gospel with anyone who crosses your path. Ultimately remember our Greatest commands are to love your God and love your neighbor. Put down fear and pick up love.

Lisa Shipley

Hope Center

Hope Center

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