Pandemics bring out interesting phenomena in people. Scrolling through social media, one might easily believe the apocalypse has arrived. “Doom! Doom!” They seem to shout. “It’s the end of the world!”
One would think the world had already ended.
In the face of such panic and pandemonium, it is easy to become afraid. We are facing real problems and loss at present. Whether it be loss of employment, loss of supplies, loss of social connection or loss of a sense of safety, pandemics have a way of bringing our worries to the fore.
“What if I cannot pay the rent?”
“What if I cannot feed myself or my family?”
“What if something happens to my loved ones?”
Pandemics have a way of bringing our worries to the fore.
Christians are not immune to fear. Just because we follow Jesus, it does not mean we never get nervous or have worries or feel terrified from time to time. Jesus’ disciples certainly faced fear – fear of losing their leader, fear of the Jews, fear of punishment or death.
And they had Jesus with them. In the flesh.
Following Jesus does not inoculate us against fear. Yet he encourages us to not be afraid.
“Take heart! I have conquered the world,” he urges his disciples in John 16.
He knew we would face terrible things. He knew we would experience loss and shortage and isolation. He experienced these things too. He has not abandoned us in our suffering. He is with us. We may be alone in our houses, but we are not alone.
We are not alone.
At times like these, I am reminded of Psalm 46:
“God is a safe place to hide,
Ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
Courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
The tremors that shift mountains.” (Psalm 46:1-2 MSG.)
It certainly feels like we are at the cliff-edge of doom at present. There are metaphorical seastorms and earthquakes all around us, roaring oceans and mountain-shifting tremors that threaten our peace and health and livelihoods.
What allows the psalmist to be so confident in the face of catastrophe?
It is there in the first line.
God is a safe place to hide.
He is safe. This world is not safe. Other people are not safe. Beaches and cafes and shopping centres are not safe. Our economy is not safe. But God is safe. Rock-solid, sunrise-sure, death-and-taxes-certain safe.
God is a safe place to hide.
I have no idea what the next few months will bring. I do not even know what the world will be like when I wake up tomorrow. But I am sure about God. I trust him. Nothing else.
I am digging deep into God, reaching for his love like tree roots reaching for nutrients in the soil, relying on him like a newborn relies on its mother. And a newborn, wrapped in love and care and devotion, has nothing to fear.
This is how we live fearless and unafraid. Standing at the cliff-edge of doom, we are in fact standing in the safest place of all: God.
How has this pandemic affected you? Do you feel safe in God today? How are you trusting him for your needs? Share your story – let’s have a countercultural conversation.