Things are getting WILD out there.
Fear seems to be closing in on all sides. The fear of being infected, the fear of financial stress/uncertainty, and the fear that things may not ever turn back to the normal we once knew is gripping us all right now.
So right now, what is the church to do? More specifically, what are Christians supposed to do? Are we to hang on every word the MSM (main stream media) is feeding us, consistently being informed (I use the word bombarded) with up-to-the-minute data? Or should we rather refuse to believe what anyone is telling us, and continue to live as normal as we did two months ago, and by some estimations, sticking our heads in the proverbial sand?
I think the answer is a fairly obvious “no” on both fronts.
But the question remains, what shall we do? I’m reminded of a lovely little passage of Holy Scripture that pops in my head quite frequently when I am acting/feeling extreme either on one side or the other. Proverbs 11:1 says, “A false balance [is] abomination to the LORD: but a just weight [is] his delight.” As said earlier, it’s not one or the other (being obsessed OR being careless), it is, by all means, a balance.
So, how in the world can we have peace of mind in the middle of all this chaos?
1. Stop living and breathing (figuratively speaking) coronavirus.
“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” – Psalms 127:2
What we allow in our minds at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day affects, you guessed it, our whole day. If we are waking up and taking this stuff in first thing, we are already off center. Don’t let FOX, CNN, or your Facebook newsfeed be the first voices in your head in the morning. Let It, instead, be the Lord. There will be plenty of time later to educate yourself with the goings-on in the world. But for those first few moments, don’t focus on your horizontal relationships (other humans), instead, prioritize your vertical relationship (the Lord over all). Rise early before things get chaotic, and just be still. Allow God the time to speak to you and to calm you. He can, and He will, if you will give Him the first fruit portions of your day.
2. Get your rest.
“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.” – Proverbs 3:24-25
No Jedi mind tricks here. And also none of that eastern “look within yourself” type stuff. Nope, this “inner peace” actually does not come from within at all, but instead, from above.
When reading and studying the Bible, context is always key. Synonyms for “context” include (but are not limited to): atmosphere, setting, and circumstance. So plainly, context is very important, not just in the Bible, but in any conversation. The context here in the aforementioned passage is directed toward the person that is exercising wisdom in his daily life. It assures him that if he is acting wisely (and in the fear of Almighty God), he has nothing else to fear, because his trust is in the One who holds all safety in His hand. And it is for this reason, he can lie down, and sweetly sleep. If this is true of you, please, stop stressing and get your rest. Turn off the television (or your cell phone) at the end of the day and allow your brain settle down. Then, get you some rest.
Let us take advantage of this time when all of our other idols have been torn down. I speak specifically to ministers (or heavily involved church lay people). Very easily, busyness becomes boss at our churches. We feel like we have to have this program or that program, or that we have to keep this ministry or that ministry alive. We feel we absolutely must be going here or there, or we are simply not doing our jobs, and if that is the case, then we are just not worth much of anything. Friend, right now, none of that even matters. The time will come when it will matter (although probably not as much as we think it does), but that time is not now. Soak in this time of rest. You need it. Your overworked wife needs it. Your core people (that do all the things that need doing) need it. And let us remember, our “worth” is not found in our work. It is also not in our status. It is not found in our possessions, nor is it in “how many you run” on Sundays (I’ve always hated that question). Your worth is found in Christ Jesus, and in Him alone. Never ever forget that. It will put your spirit at rest.
3. Develop a relationship with God.
There is another side of that coin we talked about a moment ago. That being, if a person does not live/walk in the fear of God, rather, if they choose to live life how they see fit with little regard for God, His Word, and His will; their sleep will, most definitely, not be sweet. They will worry. They will be distracted. They will fear. They may even be consumed by it. And for good reason, because if a person does not know God personally, and/or if they are living contrary to His Word, they have every reason to fear. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. God sees, hears, and knows all, including the hearts of men. But all is not lost (or at least, it doesn’t have to be).
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” – Psalms 119:165
(that was my grandmother’s favorite Bible verse by the way)
Some of that “great peace” is what we need right about now, isn’t it?
Here is some good news then.
It absolutely can be found.
The question is, how?
Well, the Psalmist indicates that those who “love” God’s law will, by default, possess that peace. Therefore, it is quite natural to assume that the heart that truly loves the law of God, loves God Himself. Because you don’t fall in love with mere words. You fall in love with a person. And if you are genuinely in love with a person, you will want to please that person. And if you want to please that person, you will gladly sacrifice for that person. And if you gladly sacrifice for that person, then your love is proven true and pure by your actions. Maybe that’s why the Psalmist said in the verse prior, Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments (Psalm 119:164). A consistent “check-in” time throughout the day with the object of his love. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s pretty indicative of some real, true love there.
What if we did that? What if we “checked in” with God for a few minutes seven times a day? It does sound a bit overkill, let’s be honest. But let’s ask ourselves, how many times in a day do we check in with social media, our friends, or the news?
Probably more than seven.
I leave you with one more Scripture,
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:6-7
You and I can find peace in the middle of all this craziness. Stop living and breathing (once again, figuratively speaking) this stuff. Get you some much-needed rest. And finally, develop a relationship with God. We genuinely have no idea what will happen tomorrow, so, it does absolutely no good to obsess over this stuff. Please, be rationally informed. Be cautious. Be sensible and considerate. But don’t lose your mind.