2020 has been nothing short of perilous. Bloggers and preachers regularly employ hyperbole, but what we are seeing due to the coronavirus pandemic is unique. At the time of writing, I’m a 44-year-old man who was born and raised in the United States, and I can confidently say no one my age has ever seen anything like this in our country. Notwithstanding extreme events in other areas, what we are witnessing is a rather new type of stress to everyone alive.
Where Is He Going With This?
This blog post is for you who are scared. Things are happening in our world that are causing people a lot of distress. Folks who aren’t afraid of the virus are afraid of the results of our efforts to contain it. Personally, I know more people who are affected (out of work, e.g.) than are infected. Families have had their normal routines completely upended and not everyone deals well with that!
And I’m not talking about children only. We live in a culture where “adulting” is a verb now because so many people literally have no clue how to be an adult. Part of maturity is dealing with stress and conflict in a responsible and useful manner. Adults don’t necessarily have all the answers. Part of adulthood is doing what needs to be done next even when you don’t have all the answers. It’s being afraid but acting reasonably at the same time.
There’s a genuine way to have and express concern without crossing the line into sinful anxiety. For some people, this experience has bolstered their faith. Their trust in God’s sovereignty is carrying them through and they are leading their homes, churches, and communities with confidence in Christ. By God’s grace, this is a wonderful response.
Are You Scared?
But maybe you are not one of those people listed above! Maybe you are someone who is a bit more shaken by all this. Maybe you have been affected in ways that are putting stress on you that you cannot handle? I want you to know that there are people out there who want to help you. There are Christians who are ready to lend a hand, a listening ear, creature comforts, and display their faith for you to emulate.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
What I want to exhort you with today is not to muster more faith or to “be like David” or some other hero of the faith. I want to encourage you to honestly assess if you are fainthearted or weak. Paul declares that the brethren ought to be encouraging you and helping you. But how can someone do that if they do not know you are one of those who need encouragement or help? Do you expect that the stronger brothers will just figure it out or instinctively know that you need their help?
Confess to your church and your friends your weakness so that you can be prayed for (James 5:16). Let people know that you wish you were just “so sure God was going do something good” but that you’re genuinely anxious anyway. Let people know that even though you know you should trust Him and not worry…that you are worrying and need help.
I think that too many of us are afraid to share these feelings and thoughts we have for fear of being judged. I hope you will find people who will be compassionate and help you and lift you out of this (Galatians 6:1-2). And I hope your desire to display the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your own life will allow you the humility to admit when you are failing to be as faithful as you ought.
The Consequences Can Be Serious
If you do not get the help you need for these difficulties the consequences can be disastrous. Letting that little bit of extra stress and emotion go unchecked could cause you to have a shorter fuse with your spouse or kids. Your fears can turn you into a self-centered person rather than a person seeking to look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). You may find yourself wasting your boss’s time scouring the internet to read news articles or watch government speeches instead of doing your work.
Undealt with fears and anxieties like you may be experiencing sometimes lead to depression and even suicide. This is NOT ok! Get help from the brethren now and get accountable to someone for how you are feeling each day and try to deal with your emotions in a healthy, mature way. Get enough sleep and don’t eat-nothing-but-junk-food. Fill your mind with scripture and use your time to pray. And be in touch with others. This time of quarantine can be deadly for people already inclined toward isolation. And for those who naturally don’t like isolation, it can be somewhat maddening!
This is my earnest plea. I do not need you to pretend you are something you are not during this critical time in our history. You will not help me or anyone else by “faking it ’til you make it.” What folks need at this time is for you to be genuine and honest. People whom God has gifted with strong faith at this time actually will be blessed by having someone like you to bless. Your family and your friends will benefit as you are sanctified day by day through this trial. Please make sure you are seeking fellowship today and every day!