Thursday, March 12, 2020

Defeating Fear of the Coronavirus

(Holland, Michigan)

Have I ever felt afraid? Of course.

After our twin son David was stillborn, and our surviving twin Josh was fighting for his life, I had moments of fear. Fear is the emotion a person feels when facing something bad that is happening or is about to happen. Fear is the emotion I feel when my well being, and that of those I love, is threatened.

To fear is to feel unprotected.

Today a tiny virus is expanding its kingdom of fear, with mighty human institutions bowing before its path. What shall we do? Keep following normal precautions, such as sanitizing your hands, often. If you feel sick, stay home, isolated from the public. Follow guidelines like these.

Beyond that, what can I do? Here is where I have found my faith functioning as a shelter in the storms of life.

Consider Jesus' disciples, in their fishing boat, on the Sea of Galilee. A "furious storm" assaults them. The waves are sweeping over the boat. And Jesus is sleeping.

I think of my trip to India. I'm riding in the back seat of a car, being transported from Hyderabad to Kurnool. A five-hour car ride, that brought me a lot of fear. Many times I thought the driver would hit another car, or go off the road. To me, his driving was reckless. I was dead tired from a long flight, but could not sleep. Several times I turned to look at my Indian friend who invited me on this trip. Each time, he was sleeping like a newborn baby. Obviously, he had no fear.

Unable to take the storm any longer, Jesus' disciples - experienced fishermen - woke Jesus up, begging for help. Jesus wakes, and asks them, "Why are you so afraid?" Had I been in that boat I would have answered, "I'll tell you why. We are going to drown!"

Jesus responds by getting up and rebuking the wind and waves, as if they were demon-inspired. Upon which the waters calm down. Jesus' disciples were amazed, and ask, "What kind of man is this?"

When our son Joshua was going under, I prayed and told God, "If you will allow him to live, I shall never have such fear again." Josh lived. And while I have had bouts of fear since then, I remember how Jesus brought Linda and I through this terrible storm.

What kind of man is this, who is with us in the furious storms of life? His name is Jesus. And we are His followers, people of faith, who love Him, and in whom He works all things together for good.