Walking through the grocery store yesterday I stopped to talk with a friend who was also shopping. As we chatted between the crossroads of chips and dairy, I became aware of my surrounding. “Stop and listen.” I told him. We both stopped and inquisitively looked around.
The store was packed with afternoon shoppers; but no one was talking. They were quietly moving around the store loading up their carts. “Don’t you find this odd?” I asked.
“That’s fear.” He observed.
The day before in another larger store I came face to face with another kind of fear. It swept through the store with panic, rudeness, carts rushing the isles at a frenzied pace. Toilet paper being stripped from the shelves. The dreaded word had reached our small town. Corona-virus! At that moment caught in the on-slot of shoppers it felt like the apocalypse and I was stuck in the middle of its devastating furry!
Fear comes in all forms. Mute shock which pushes us to go through the necessary motions of life or a frenzied panic that alters our kindness with selfishness; but God calls us to not fear. No matter what sweeps into our lives unannounced or uninvited the command is clear. “Do not fear.” (Joshua 1:9)
The Psalmist tells us to not give way to dread. “Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”
The only reason we can enter a time of worldwide pandemic without dread, is because God is our safe refuge and strength. Our strength is not in our economy to muster up at a time like this. it can only be found in God alone. God is always ready to help in times of trouble. He is present. He is here, right now in the middle of this virus and He offers His peace for our restless, wondering hearts.
Whatever your fear looks like, I urge you to stop and take the time to step into the place where God is. To get away from the barrage of media that can cause your mind to go on autopilot or get swept up into frenzy.
Find your refuge of safety in God. Place your trust in Him. He is always a safe shelter from whatever storm the world is finding themselves in.
As you enter this place of quiet refuge take some time to stop and pray for those around you and those who live around the world. Fear is real! Fear is a normal “go-to” at times like this.
As we step away from the chaos around us, may we find our peace in the One who is perfect peace. The only One who can calm the raging storms in our hearts and lives. God offers to wash over our fearful hearts with this consolation:
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
God, this is a crazy time in the history of our world. My restless heart too easily finds it’s way to the place where fear dwells. I know that fear breeds fear! I want to step out of this breeding ground and enter the place where you dwell, for here is not only shelter; but a quiet and a calm refuge from the storm around me.
God, help me to run away from the hype and pressure of social media and find a quiet solace from this sweeping storm that seeks to attack my mind and soul. May I not allow the waves of fear to come crashing over me, threatening to suck me in to their frenzied vortex.
I want you God. I want to live in the place where you dwell. I want my soul to soak up all that is peaceful, pure and holy. I want my life to make a difference during this time of unknowns. May I find a way to help those in need, to minister grace and mercy to those who are suffering under the load of all that feels out of their control. May I represent you well with a heart that is full of compassion and not fear.
In Jesus Name. AMEN
(Prayer scriptures: Psalm 91:6; Psalm 46:1; Psalm 91:1-2; Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 41:10)
When a pandemic hits our world, it can be easy to get caught up in the frenzied emotions of fear. The outbreak of this virus is a real calamity that has placed us in troubled times. May we find ways to reach across it’s barriers and creatively extend peace to those who are consumed with the “what-if’s”. May our hearts swell with understanding as those around us face this without knowing that God is the only one who can offer the assurance of peace in tumultuous times. May we freely offer up the gift of love found only in the knowledge that God is the only One in which we can find our refuge and strength. This has not taken Him by surprise. He is enough. Let us lead others into His safe refuge.
LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN
Linda Jane Dingeldein remembers Hua Hin Thailand.