Ever since the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived, many of us have been operating from a place of fear. We isolate ourselves, avoid large gatherings, distance ourselves, wash our hands, and wear masks in public places. We do all of this because we do not want to contract a potentially deadly virus. That is what I call wise fear. In the book of Genesis, chapter three reveals that Adam and Eve were afraid when they disobeyed God in the garden. Fear came about because they believed Satan's lie, so they hid and became afraid of God. The truth is God never intended creation to become frightened of their creator. There is a well -known acronym describing FEAR as False Evidence Appearing real. That was the type of lie Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden, and these type of lies continues today.
God has wired humankind to experience feelings of fear, and there are different types. As small children, we may experience fear of the dark. Some of us enjoy the thrill that a rollercoaster ride or a parachute jump gives. Many people have phobias or anxiety about a particular thing or situation. Also, there may be anxious fear in trying something different or something for the first time. However, when the Bible speaks of fearing God, it is a fear that produces wisdom. God requires reverence, a type of fear involving deep belief in and respect for God from his creation (Psalms 33:8). When God's creation holds God in the highest esteem, trusting God with all our heart, fear subsides. Those of us who fear God will lack nothing (Psalms 34:9). Yes, humbly entrusting God's word gives us wise fear (Proverbs 9:10). Reverent fear makes us wise. Wisdom and knowledge prevent us from doing or sayings things that will cause harm. Wise fear warns us of dangers and can stop us from making irrational decisions (Psalms 111:10). In a crisis that threatens life, wise fear thinks fast, using impulses to rectify the situation. The Bible tells us that the fear (reverence) of the Lord can prolong life (Proverbs 10:27, Proverbs 19:23).
Therefore, God calls us to be obedient at this time of coronavirus. We must practise the recommendations given by our government health authorities. After all, God's providence oversees and directs them too. Sadly, we hear all too often about the many lives impacted or lives lost to coronavirus, finding it difficult to fathom. On a more positive note, we also hear about reduced impact in places where safety measures are in place.
We are God's beloved, and we take comfort in knowing God never stops working on our behalf (Josh 1:9).
As we enter 2021, let us act upon God's wise counsel as we pray for an end to this virus. Let us pray:
Father God, creator of heaven and earth, we revere you! As we enter the year 2021, may we be mindful of your agapē love for us. Forgive us for not always forgiving others and for often treating creation poorly. Although we have all fallen short, we thank you that you know our frame and you are a God of compassion. Thank you for giving us another opportunity to begin again. Thank you for providing wise counsel given through your word and the Holy Spirit. We praise you for the knowledge and wisdom you gave to scientists in finding vaccines to combat this virus. Thank you for giving government agencies the insight to create a list of protective measures for keeping society safe. Thank you for front line workers who risk their lives to help others. Bless them all, Father God. Together we ask that 2021 will be a year of restoration and healing in all nations from the coronavirus. We bring to you all those impacted by this virus and ask that you provide the comfort and peace needed. We adore you, God, and we thank you that you had overcome sin when you sent your Son, Jesus the Christ, into the world to be a sacrifice for us. Bless you, Father God. We pray all this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
" All Scriptures are from the New International Version"