An uncontrollable virus like a great storm is traveling across continents and infecting people around us. For some of us, it takes away our jobs and lives of people we loved. We feel hopeless against a virus we have no treatment for. We feel like floating in a small boat during a windstorm.
But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?" When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, "Silence! Be still!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"( Mark 4:37-40 )
It’s natural for us to build our confidence based on experience in this world. When things go the way we expect them to go, we’re relaxed and happy. When a minor trouble comes our way, we try to ignore it and move on. Our confidence is growing with industrial progress that brings us comfortable living and scientific discoveries that explain how things work and develop vaccines for all diseases. However, the foundation of our faith is very fragile and quickly fails when something unordinary happens. Let's look at the promise we received from our God the Father.
You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. "The LORD will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven! "The LORD will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. "The LORD will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.( Deuteronomy 28:2,3,4,5,6,7,8,11,12,13 )
It is not natural for us to live this life fully obeying God and his commandments. As soon as our life is out of trouble, we pursue our wicked ways, again and again...
Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, "Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors." But you would not listen to me or obey me.( Jeremiah 35:15 )
We see ourselves in fear and lack of faith. Generation after generation of people for thousands of years were disobeying God and losing His blessings. We shook out love from the foundation of the God's commandments, leaving out dry statements with only visual and formal obedience to them. That all landed us on a place of fear exactly as promised…
"The LORD himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me. The LORD will strike you with wasting diseases, fever, and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew. These disasters will pursue you until you die.( Deuteronomy 28:20,22 )
God’s anger is indeed fearful. But before we jump into judging our Heavenly Father for doing such cruel things, let’s imagine a doctor who’s cutting off an infected leg to save a person from dying. It’s natural for us to focus on the things that can be seen and ignore our God’s love and desire to save us. Our child will remember our anger and a painful slap on a back, but would easily forget how it saved him from falling off a dangerous cliff. And we who see only earthly things, do not even see what God's anger saves us from.
God wants us to obey him faithfully. He wants us to not be afraid of what we see, but rather gain confidence from our faith.
So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.( 2 Corinthians 4:18 )
Whether you are at risk of losing your life, or at the peak of your health, death is perceived as the worst that can happen to us. But is it? Death is the last thing that we see of a human. The death opens up the door to the unseen for us, to the unknown.
The unknown in our life, or after it, is controlled by our fear, or by our faith. We can surround ourself with the darkness of fear, or the light of faith. As we can see in this earthly life, faithful people become successful in what they do. And there is no reason to doubt that faith will light up path after the death to those who believe. Path to a much better life than here on Earth.
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.( John 3:16 )
Right now we are alive. And we are thankful to our God for that very minute we live now, for the ability to see and to breathe, and to make a change in this world. We can still see our loved ones and tell them what they mean to us.
Love overcomes fear and reveals who we really are, created in God's image. And by going through physical death and resurrection, Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and brought us a Holy Spirit, an invisible helper that now can live within us.
He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.( John 14:17 )
The Spirit we received is not the Spirit of fear, as it leads us to eternal life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.( 2 Timothy 1:7 )
From that we can see that if we feel fear, it’s not from the Spirit God gave us. If we walk in the darkness of a fear, we did not bring the light of faith in the Lord, our God.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."( John 8:12 )
Now, standing in the epicenter of the pandemic, what would you choose - Fear or Faith? When other people look at you in the darkness of this fearful world, can they see your light?
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.( Psalms 91:3-7 )
This is my command-- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."( Joshua 1:9 )
Nothing comes out of no reason in our world. And what would this pandemic teach us? Would we be able to actually value human life? Will we be able to value true friendship, express gratitude for what we've got? Will it end the meaningless race for a better picture in Instagram and more subscribers to our YouTube videos? Will it end the wars for money and power? Will it make the sky blue again for future generations? Will we finally be able to take off the veil from our eyes and see the real world created by our Father?
"I am leaving you with a gift-- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.( John 14:27 )