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Apr 1, 2020, 1:23 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

The current worldwide crisis occasioned by the eruption of COVID-19 has been fertile ground for peddling fear. In every quarter of the globe people are afraid for their lives and for that of their loved-ones, with good reason. Fear, believe it or not, is of the devil. Satan has always thrived on the fear of his victims to execute his evil deeds.  Fear has led to panic buying, shutting down of institutions and the order for people to stay at home. Everything has in the past week virtually grounded to a halt – all because of an unseen virus that is said to be deadly.

Of course, the Media also has jumped on its ‘hobby horse’ to feed the gossip mill and has succeeded in compounding the situation much more than bringing relief to anxious souls. The figures of those who have caught the virus and have recovered from it are much more than those who have succumbed under it.

We understand that good news is no longer palatable; only bad news or sensational news attracts the eye nowadays. If only the Press had majored on the success stories in the combat of the disease, there would not have been such scare. One positive test case of corona virus is enough to stir up a whole nation. 

This is what God’s word has to say about fear. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity [fear], but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline [sound mind].” (2 Timothy 1:7) When we are afraid, our body chemistry reacts by being on the alert, ready to act on impulse. Hardly do we stop to think before we question or even challenge issues. The first thought that comes to us is our survival and personal safety. We put our safety above everything else.

Peter and his fellow disciples were in a boat early morning crossing the Red Sea amidst life-threatening turbulence, when suddenly they saw someone who looked like a ghost walking on water heading towards them. They were frightened! And with the self-preservation mood in gear, Peter asked the Lord Jesus if it was indeed Him and whether he [Peter] could come over to join Him. What He meant really was whether he could abandon his mates to be safe with Jesus – in the face of imminent danger.

Our Lord Jesus bid him to come. He walked on water for a while then he began to sink. He was able to walk on water because he had fixed his eyes on Jesus. But the storm continued to rage and for a few seconds he took his eyes off Jesus – paying attention to the violent winds and he began to go under. He shouted to Jesus. “‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:30) Jesus hauled him out of the Sea and both of them entered the boat. Immediately the storm ceased.

Jesus is our Anchor. David says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) We have to build our trust in the Lord and on His word. He Himself said that: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63)

By leaning on His words we can be assured of our protection and safety. For with this mindset ‘nothing shall by any means harm us.’ Besides, our Lord Jesus has underlined; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b) Under no circumstance!

Job was a devout man, ‘blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1) His sons and daughters were having parties, rather frequently. This practice disturbed his spirit and instead of giving them a ‘dressing-down,’ he continually offered sacrifices on their behalf, thinking; “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” (Job 1:5c) This became a routine.

Job harboured fear that one day God would punish his children for their unbecoming lifestyle. Eventually, disaster struck. A report was brought to him by a messenger of a calamity that would claim the lives of all his children at one go. “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house.  It collapsed on them and they are dead and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:18-19)

Job later confessed that, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25)

The Bible abounds with ‘Fear nots,’ -- the reason being that God knows He has to allay our fears in order to assure us of His power to save us under any circumstance. Jesus can save us from imagined and real threats to our lives engendered by fear. When we succeed in conquering our fears then we know whose we are. The Bible teaches; “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) We must lay aside our false security that we can do things for ourselves. When we go around with that fearful attitude, we expose our frailties and vulnerability.

It is essential in our Christian life to build our trust in God’s unfailing love. The Widow of Zarephath was down to her last meal at the height of the famine declared by Prophet Elijah. As she was gathering a few sticks with which to cook the meal, her faith was challenged when God’s prophet, Elijah, called on her and requested her to shelve her plan and prepare him a meal instead with the ‘handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.’ She obeyed and all through the famine (she and her son, along with the prophet) had food to eat.

In today’s world, we believe only what we see. In everyday parlance, we often hear it said that, ‘Seeing is believing.’ Not so with God! The Bible states categorically that you have to believe before you can see. Our Lord Jesus said to Jairus whose daughter was on her death bed. “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” (Luke 8:50)

Indeed, there are multiple reasons for us to be afraid, but we are not supposed to be frightened by what we see because they have a shelf-life. Let us therefore brace ourselves up with the knowledge that Jesus has conquered sin and death, the terrible duo that is the root cause of our fears. 

To Martha - one of the sisters of Lazarus who had been buried four days before Jesus arrived on the scene to raise him up - He said, after resurrecting Lazarus; “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

Only believe, and see God’s glory manifested in your life.