You know that feeling—tension begins to grip your gut. Your breathing gets fast and moves high up in your chest. Your throat closes down a bit and your heart quickens. Recognize it? Fear, often masquerading as stress.
Current State of Affairs
You don’t ingest it. It’s not a germ floating in the air that you contract. You produce it all on your own in reaction to your external or internal environment. Sometimes it sneaks up on you so that you barely notice it. Sometimes it hits you like a punch in the gut. Whatever form it takes, it’s not a good feeling, and it is definitely not the way God intended us to live.
We currently find ourselves living in an environment that is, I believe, intended to create fear and panic. Face it, it is difficult to wake up to lasers flashing through your windows in the middle of the night and not feel panic. But it is also difficult to read the non-ceasing headlines portraying anarchy, violence, political crime, sex trafficking, voter fraud, on and on and on and on without feeling just a tad bit fearful, even angry. It’s a bit like playing Whack-a-Mole and I admit it: I often feel stress and fear these days, and I don’t like it one bit.
How Do We Cope
So, what can we do about it? I believe that we as Christians were not intended to live this way, and in fact, it opposes the purposes of God. We are facing a formidable enemy which takes on a physical form but is a tremendously dark evil spiritual force, and it is not new. It is the same serpent who infected Eden, who produced such evil in humans that God destroyed the earth with a flood, that crucified Jesus, that persecuted the believers and still does. Same game plan, different time period. It gets into your mind, distresses your spirit, causes panic and anxiety and, worst of all, can even cause you to lose faith and hope and begin to question God and what He is doing.
Well, you know what? We don’t know exactly what God is doing, but we can do our best to live according to His Will each and every day. And as Christians, we have the ability to go before the throne of God, covered in Jesus’s blood, and pray for what we want Him to do. I think of the parable that Jesus told of the widow who approached the wicked judge day after day until finally he granted her request just to be rid of her! But God wants us to come to Him to seek His face and Will, and He longs to act on behalf of His people if we ask in repentance and faith according to His Word and Will. Yes, He is God, yet He responds to and acts according to the prayers of His children. His heart melts when He hears their cries. Just ponder for a moment how incredibly powerful that is.
Keep Your Eyes on The Lord
When you wake up in the morning, what are your very first thoughts? This is the time to begin to take control of your day. Recognize what you are thinking and if your thoughts are not of God immediately set your mind on Him. The Jews have a beautiful custom of saying the Shema first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Shema means to “hear and do.” It is from Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one (sometimes translated as the LORD is God, the LORD alone). It is a powerful, habitual reminder that God is in control and that we are to know and follow His commandments and word. If we don’t get this part right, from the time we open our eyes in the morning, nothing else in our life will work as it should.
So, the question is, who or what do you really believe? Do you believe the headlines? Do you not know who or what to believe anymore? Are you overwhelmed by the constant barrage of panic inducing headlines that seem to grow exponentially? Do you rush to put on your face mask out of fear of either the virus or of being scowled at or of the authorities? Do you share the worst headlines and news with everyone around you? Do you believe the end is near? Do you believe you are helpless? Many people do, as evidenced by the tremendous increase in substance abuse and suicides since the lockdowns began. Is there a way to find truth and peace yet still be effective? I believe the answer is yes.
Who do you say that the LORD is? Do you feel the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit? Are you being transformed daily into the image of Christ? We absolutely must find our foundation in Him and Him alone. If we rush to read the headlines, if we can’t wait to get on the computer, if we gulp our coffee while watching the news, we will never, ever find peace or direction.
Resist the urge to jump on the latest catastrophe and spend time in prayer instead. Some people even find it necessary to fast from time to time. Our power source is not our phone. In fact, our phone and computer, though useful and potentially indispensable these days, are also used to control, track and manipulate you. Are we as addicted to our time devoted to God? If we don’t allow ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirt, we absolutely can do nothing—nothing. With Him, anything is possible—anything. But it takes time, devotion, prayer, studying His word, having a conversation with Him, and allowing Him to truly make you a new creation.
Having Done All, Stand
So, if you are finding yourself succumbing to the fear that I truly believe is intentionally foisted upon us, hit pause and pray. Call out to the LORD and ask Him to direct your steps. But don’t stop there. This is a time for action like never before. The situation in our nation could not be more critical. I am not saying that to build fear again, but to empower you. Fill your tank up with the Fire of God first and foremost. Seek His will and understanding and get your marching orders. Pray about what you can and should and must do.
We can’t do it all, nor can we do nothing. Allow Him to guide you out of the fear trap and into His place of peace and power. And, from that place, soldier on. May the LORD of Lords be with you every step. You are a champion for Christ. Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Glorify God in all that you do, unite with other like-minded believers, cast off doubt and fear, and pray for Him to act and pour out His Spirit upon our nation in a manner not seen before! Remember, we are children of the Most High God, and He is still on the throne.