As I’m writing today, we have just learned that the shelter-at-home restrictions will soon come to an end and a lot of our “normal” activity can resume. This announcement has elicited a plethora of reaction from folks that ranges from elation to outrage. This is understandable considering that we all view most things from a number of different lenses. For the person who has a compromised immune system or loves someone who does, the fear of the higher risk to catch Covid-19 causes outrage. For the person who is just days away from losing their business or feeding their family, this announcement may cause elation. For the person who enjoys being alone most of the time, these days may have been a welcome change. Yet, for the person who struggles with depression and loneliness, they may have been debilitating.
As hard as it is, each of us has to try to view this (and many things) from a number of perspectives before we cast judgment on those who may disagree with us. But one thing I think we can all agree on is this….this has been a fearful time.
On my morning walk today, I was pondering my own fear. I thought about what things I fear the most in my life. As I named each of them, I began to realize that they fell into a few overarching categories:
1) Physical Suffering
Scripture tells us over and over again, “Do not be afraid.” Often, I read those words and think, “that sounds so easy, but there’s _______________. You can fill in the blank with whatever seems too much to bear. It’s as if I’m saying to God, you just don’t understand how my situation is different! I can almost hear him chuckling even as I write that. I know God has to have a sense of humor to love me like He does.
As I gave more thought to each category my fears fall in to….my spirit was prompted to think about Christ. We know that He came to the Earth fully God but also fully man. He took on all of the human characteristics and experienced all of the things we experience…yet without sin. In just moments, I was reminded of these scriptures for each one.
Physical Suffering – In Isaiah we are told that the beatings of Jesus caused him to become “so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14)
Loss – In John 11 we are told the story of Lazarus, a dear friend to Jesus. And upon hearing of his death, “Jesus wept.” John 11:35
Rejection – In Isaiah we learn that “He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Isaiah 53:3
Abandonment – In Matthew we read that “Jesus called with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Matthew 27:46
Death – We can read of his death in numerous scriptures, but Philippians says “He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8.
These scriptures came to me in only a few minutes. I know if I took the time to continue to research, I could find dozens of scriptures, if not more, to help me understand how Christ experienced everything I do…but without fear because fear demonstrates a lack of faith…which is sin and he knew no sin. In Hebrews we are reminded that he didn’t come to earth to help the angels, but to help us. To help people. “Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18). He gets it….and has provided a way out with an additional promise that we can be strong and courageous because He goes ahead of us and will never fail us nor abandon us. He went to the cross so I wouldn’t have to suffer fear. So every time I do, it is as if I’m saying, “that wasn’t enough.” It wrecks me when I think about it like that.
I’ve heard the phrase “Don’t waste your quarantine" numerous times in the last few days. I have learned several valuable lessons during this time, but perhaps the thing that will stand out to me the most is how fearful I really am. I pray that in days to come that I remember how little control I have over anything and that as a child of the King, I have absolutely nothing to fear.
What about you? I challenge you to think about your greatest fears and see if they fall into any of the same categories as mine or maybe different ones? Go to scripture and see what you can find in the truth of the Word of God about your fears. And may we continue to be reminded, “The Lord is my light and my salvation…so why should I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
Maybe your quarantine lesson has absolutely nothing to do with fear. I encourage you to document what you've learned. This has been history and we definitely don't want to forget it.
I am so looking forward to seeing some of your faces very soon and figuring out our "new" normal in the days to come! I've missed you!!!
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