To say this past week has felt a bit surreal may be an understatement for a lot of us. I just ended a phone call with a friend after hearing King County’s recent proclamation regarding all things coronavirus. I was cradling the phone between my shoulder and ear so that I could assist my four year old down from a tree (it was raining, I was in slippers), when I exclaimed to her, “I just needed a lifeline to the outside world—this is madness!” I often feel this way as a stay-at-home mom, yet I’m under no pretense that these feelings of isolation are unique to my vocation. When the world seems to be panicking and in distress, I think many of us feel the urgent desire to connect with somebody, anybody in order to process and to know if nothing else that you are not alone in how you feel.
Last week Pastor Mark (my husband) spoke about fear, and how it is like a virus in and of itself. How true that is! Fear replicates itself and preys especially upon those compromised. In a physiological sense, this may be due to low immune system. But in a spiritual sense? We can be compromised by anxious thoughts running wild, looking to idols and addictions for comfort, or worshipping knowledge over wisdom. All these things that compromise our faith add to our susceptibility to a life filled with fear. I do not want to in any way minimize the fact that some of us are truly susceptible to coronavirus or have loved ones who are. I do, however, want to point out that though some of us truly have reason to be concerned physically, not one of us as believers in Jesus Christ have reason to be concerned about the wellbeing of our souls.
I called a friend today to find that lifeline, that connection with someone who I knew was also home alone with young kids, likely also a little shocked and concerned. But what I didn’t remember was that I already do have a lifeline. A true lifeline not only to someone who can relate to fear, but to Someone who has already overcome it. Our Lord, Jesus, cannot just relate to our human fear, He offers complete peace—as if He’s saying, “I know how this ends, and I win.”
Mark challenged us to meditate on a simple, profound verse found in Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (NIV). It is comforting to know that fear has been a human experience since the garden, and even David, “a man after God’s own heart,” had moments of fear. If I may be so bold, I would also like to add another favorite of mine found in the book of John:
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5 NIV)
This verse is most comforting to me simply because it is in the present tense. It does not say, “the light was once shining in the darkness and at that point in time the darkness had not overcome it” or “the light had been shining and the darkness had not overcome it yet.” What a different reality that would be for us! Instead we have a holy and sovereign God, a lifeline in the truest sense of the word, not just to the “outside” world as I was longing for, but to Heaven itself.
I pray that as individuals and as a church family, let us be people that offer that true lifeline to others. Let us offer the true hope we claim to profess to anxious neighbors and unbelievers in our community. Let us show them the True Light in the darkness.