Updated: Mar 24
The Bible says “do not fear” and “do not be afraid” a lot – I’m starting to get pretty anxious with all this COVID-19 talk, is it OK to feel this way as a Christian?
From a concerned Christian
Dear concerned Christian,
As news about COVID-19 has accelerated, we’ve seen the mood around the place change – only a week or so ago we were all laughing over the toilet paper memes, now the Uni is in the process of shutting down, we’re all standing 1.5m apart, and soon isolation may be the next step. Understandably we feel concerned, anxious, and maybe even fearful about what this all means. But as Christians, is it OK to feel this way?
Let me say first of all, feeling some anxiousness is a normal human response to stress & uncertainty. There are two ways that we can respond to these feelings – either they can help us to respond in a wise & considered way to the unknowns of our situation, or they can lead us to behave recklessly and foolishly (panic buying brawls… just saying!).
The Bible has a lot to say about being wise or foolish, especially in the Wisdom literature (think Job, Proverbs & Ecclesiastes). The heart of their message is that the difference between a wise & foolish person is their posture towards God. A wise person is someone who worships God as Creator & Sovereign King over all things. The Wisdom writers use the language wisdom as “fear of the LORD” (see Proverbs 9:10). A wise person doesn’t fear the things of the world, but the One who created & rules over the world.
To fear God means that we worship and honor and trust our holy God as the One who made all things, the One who knows all things, the One who is in control of all things, the One who abounds in love, mercy, grace and faithfulness.
A wise person knows that this is God’s world, he knows all about the COVID-19 situation, he is in control of everything that happens in His world (including this virus), and we can be confident that he will display his goodness & kindness in His world.
So, a wise response to our anxiousness around COVID-19 must be for us to focus our attention even more on knowing and trusting our all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful God as He is revealed to us in His word, and using this knowledge to shape our prayers and thanksgiving – there’s nothing that calms an anxious heart more than speaking with our Heavenly Father.
Grace & peace,
PS – If your anxious feelings are becoming overwhelming, please make sure that you reach out for support. Reach out to a friend, get in touch with an ES staffworker or your church pastor, or check out online support through headspace or beyondblue.