The Saturday headlines on Drudge Report were calculated to produce fear and panic in light of the latest reports of an especially deadly COVID variant (called “Omicron”). It began with the main headlines in red in the center of the page.
'OMICRON' SINKS STOCKS
NEW TRAVEL BANS
WHO EMERGENCY MEET
Next, to the upper left, there was another series of headlines that blared out:
Super Variant Puts S Africa at Risk of Global Shut Out...
From discovery to global panic in 48 hours...
Emerged in HIV patient?
'Worst-Ever' Mutation... Spreading rapidly among young...
USA to restrict travel from 8 countries...
Belgium Confirms Case... Israel 'emergency' after detecting...
Europe surge highlights warnings...
German military airlifting patients...
Ireland considers hotel quarantine...
MERCK pill significantly less effective in new analysis...
Flood of cases 'unmanageable strain' in Michigan...
CDC Director Lauded Success of China's 'Really Strict' Policies...
WHO Skips Greek Letter 'Xi' in Naming New Strain...
What is the natural response to news like this? Panic. Fear. Uncertainty. Alarm.
But to those who know the Lord and are in right relationship to Him, there is no reason for panic. Or fear. Or uncertainty. Or alarm – no matter how deadly the virus. And no matter how grave the consequences of this latest variant may be.
That’s because God remains true to His nature and His promises, which means that we can trust Him through whatever storms come our way.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that we are exempt from suffering and hardship. But it does mean that we can rest in the love and kindness and wisdom and power of God. And I mean rest. With Jesus, there can really be deep, abiding peace in the midst of the chaos, confusion, and storm.
Last year, within weeks of the pandemic breaking out, I felt prompted to get a book written and published as quickly as possible. I knew that we were going to pass through a difficult time, but I assumed it would only last for a matter of months at most, hence the need to get the book out quickly.
At the same time, I wrote the book so that it would be relevant during any time of crisis and upheaval, thereby giving it lasting value as well as a sense of immediacy.
And how does the book start? The first chapter is titled: “Fear Not”; the second is, “Feed Your Faith Not Your Fears”; the third is, “This Is Not the End of the World”; and the last chapter, which is devoted to a study of the Hebrew text of Psalm 91, is titled, “Psalm 91: Living in the Hiding Place of the Most High.
Today, roughly 18 months after the book came out, virtually every word of these chapters applies just the same.
That’s because they are based on divine truths rather than emotional responses. And that’s because God really is our refuge in times of trouble – whatever that trouble might be.
To repeat the opening lines of the book, “We are living in unprecedented times, and it’s easy to give way to fear. After all, the news reports are daunting and the scientific predictions terrifying. Already whole countries are in lockdown and cities across America are telling people not to leave their homes. Schools are closing, businesses are shutting down, and the media is shouting through the airwaves, ‘Danger! The virus is coming your way!’”
Today, it is, “Danger! The latest, deadly mutation of the virus is coming your way!”
And it could well be that all this is true and that the new variant will prove very deadly indeed.
I do not minimize that possibility, and I do not minimize the suffering and loss of life it might bring. Who among us has not lost a family member or friend or co-worker to COVID? And not a single one of us has unaffected by the handling of COVID during this challenging time.
Yet, to repeat, God’s Word to His people remains, “Fear not!” To quote from When the World Stops Again:
The truth be told, without the Lord, it would be very easy to give place to fear. What will happen to my loved ones? What will happen to me? What about my job? How can I pay my rent (or mortgage)? How can I feed my family? What does the future hold? Does anyone know?
The good news is that, with the Lord, there is no place for fear. He is not rattled. He is not surprised. He is not taken off guard. He is not in a panic. To the contrary, He is working actively in the midst of the crisis and He has a great plan for His people in the midst of the storm. God is on the move! And He is with us.
That’s why the first message that has been sounding from pulpits across America is, “Fear not!” And that is the first message He wants to speak to each of our hearts – that is, if we are His children, in right relationship with Him. “Fear not,” He says to us, “because I am with you.”
That is all we need to know. If the Lord Himself, the Creator of the entire universe, is with us, we need not fear epidemic or pandemic. We need not fear demons or people. We need not fear the natural or the supernatural. If we have a healthy, reverential fear of the Lord, then all other fears will vanish. “Fear not!” the Lord says to you and me.
To repeat, the message remains the same to this moment.
Of course, we should exercise wisdom in terms of how we conduct ourselves during this season, also doing our best to take good care of our bodies and health. And we should pray for the government to do what is right and good for its citizens.
But we should not give place to fear and panic, even in the face of economic collapse, sickness, or death. There is no room for terror among us as children of God. Our Father really is trustworthy, and we can take refuge in Him.