By Libby Farmen
We are all hearing a lot about the concept of faith over fear during the current COVID-19 pandemic. As Christians, many of us are drawn to this concept because if we cannot be a group of people whose faith helps us weather the current crisis, what hope do others have? Thankfully, the Bible has provided us with an abundance of guidance, exhortation and encouragement for tough times and serves as a powerful guide about we can know, say and do during times of great difficulty and uncertainty.
What we should know:
Our society is obsessed with our own plans and ways. We have more opportunities and advantages than any other people group has ever had in any other time period, and it causes us to have an overextended belief in our ability to do, achieve, create, and overcome anything we want. However, Proverbs 19:22 shares, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Any belief that we are in control is simply an illusion, and for many of us, the desire for control is a false idol that we need to lay down.
Further, we need know, that when something like COVID-19 rocks our desire for smooth sailing waters, God is just as certainly at the helm, steering the boat. Ecclesiastes 8:14 tells us, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” One way that we grow in our faith is by recognizing that our circumstances do not change an unchanging God. A significant part of acting out our faith comes from the knowledge that how we feel does not need to override what we say and do. When we don’t have correction knowledge of God, and when we are holding on to false idols, our speech and actions are the outflow of our ignorance or rebellion.
What we should say:
As we engage with others, Col. 4:6 tells us, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Jesus also tells us in Matthew 5:13 that “You are the salt of the earth.” The concept of salt was a very strong visual to the first readers of the Bible. Salt was critical to their lives. Salt was used medicinally to preserve food and in trade and religion – in fact, one historian proclaimed, “salt grew and destroyed empires.” Our speech, when seasoned with salt, will taste good. Others will be drawn to the things we are saying. Our speech can preserve relationships and keep people safe. To be compared to salt is to be compared with a critical element that people must have to be healthy. Especially in times of stress or fear, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Could the things I am saying to my family, friends and posting on social media be defined as gracious and seasoned with salt?
What we should do:
Galatians 5:22-23a shares “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” This provides a powerful blueprint for our actions. Admittedly, this is a tall order, but when our actions are defined as loving, joyful and peaceable etc. the relationship we have with others as well as ourselves will be healthier. Another powerful verse for guiding what we are to do is found in Matt. 22:39 when we receive the second greatest commandment and Jesus exhorts us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There are many ways that we can do this even during quarantine. Some ways are by not giving into fears and hoarding – taking more for ourselves and disadvantaging others. We can also be creative and safe by offering to shop for elderly parents or neighbors, checking in on friends and family, and by offering ‘salty’, positive words to those around us.
The current situation offers us an amazing opportunity to be light in a dark world. We are safe, heaven-bound people in a world where many are dying eternal deaths. Let our knowledge of God, our speech and our actions be a powerful testimony of our eternal hope and coming Savior.