Finding Peace Amidst the Coronavirus Panic
Newsflash: It’s a scary world out there!
I don’t need to catch the Coronavirus to know this is true.
TV, social media, and News channels have bombarded the world with worrisome information for years now. Some of it is useful, some of it not so useful…but one thing we can always count on, is a hefty dose of anxiety and emotional whiplash.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with staying current. In fact, I think as Americans, we have a responsibility to stay informed. I mean, imagine going out and about in the U.S. right now with no knowledge about the Coronavirus. You would probably feel confused, very confused. People are living in quarantine, events are being cancelled, and public places are shutting down nation-wide. We are stocking up on groceries. We are practicing “social distancing”. We are wearing face masks and fighting over toilet paper. Some cannot even go to work.
In case you haven’t noticed, things are not normal.
And why would they be?
We are living in tumultuous times. The economy is up and down. Politics are a nightmare. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, the government has just informed us that we are experiencing a pandemic.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The people have spoken.
In response to media coverage, websites are now flooded with experts, all weighing in on the issue. People listen to what they have to say. Why? Because we all have the same questions; “Where did it come from?”, “How serious is it?”, “When will I be able to go back to school/work?”. These are important questions, and, no doubt, they will affect the way we go about our decision making.
This virus has affected our daily lives. I think most of us can agree on this. How pervasive and deadly is this virus really? Only time will tell.
But, wherever you may stand in this, I think it is fair to say we could all use a healthy dose of peace. So how do we find it? Well, it’s easier to say where you won’t find it. Just get online, watch the news, or go outside, and you will be surrounded by the impact of COVID-19. If you are looking for anxiety, you will no doubt find it.
But peace? Now that’s a rare thing.
It’s not often that you will find someone who can stay calm under any circumstance.
Now, I have met people who are naturally calm and laidback. There are people out there who will maintain a poker face during even the most extreme of emergencies. On the flip side, I’ve met people who will stress out at the drop of a hat. No judgment here. As somebody who battles anxiety myself, I get it. But no matter where you fall on the spectrum, I have never in my life met somebody who could perform perfectly under pressure at all times.
We are imperfect humans. We all fail. We all make mistakes. We all make silly decisions out of fear at times.
But Jesus was different.
Jesus was sinless. He was omniscient. In fact, He was perfect. Jesus never failed a single person during his time on earth. He was God, after all. (Feel free to disagree, but this is my conviction.)
Still, one detail we often forget is that Jesus was also human. He wasn’t immune to the pressures and stresses the world had to offer. In fact, I would say he probably felt it more intensely. I mean, he literally had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He felt fear, anxiety, and discouragement just like anybody else.
During difficult times such as this, I remind myself of Jesus’s experience at Gethsemane.
You know that part of the story where Jesus dies a horrible, excruciating death on the cross? Yeah, this is right before that.
The Prayer at Gethsemane
At this time, Jesus has taken three of his disciples; Peter, James, and John with him to the garden to pray after celebrating Passover. To an outsider, it may appear that this is an ordinary time of prayer. But not for Jesus. Why? Because Jesus knows what is about to happen. He knows that betrayal is imminent and His days are numbered. The Messiah is about to go through the trial of His life.
It’s easy to understand his anxiety. We get stressed out about possibilities that will never even happen. Our imaginations are so good at “filling in the blank”, even when there is no solid evidence to back up our fears. So just imagine how Jesus felt, not only suspecting, but knowing that He was about to be handed over.
It is at this time that Jesus prays a prayer of distress.
Luke 22:42-“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Jesus was anything but relaxed at this moment.
In fact, Luke says that he was in anguish to the point of sweating blood. (Yes, that is medically possible, and no, it is not a good sign). And yet, he does the one thing most of us can’t during a time of crisis;
He gives it to God.
In other words, He trades His human fear for His father’s faith.
Time to Make an Exchange
Now I know this isn’t natural. It’s only human to worry. We don’t like the unknown, do we? After all, we can’t just sit around and let bad things happen, right?
But oddly enough, Jesus did just that.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that anyone should be irresponsible. When given the opportunity, we should do everything in our power to stop harmful events from happening. If we fall prey to some tragedy, let it never be because we were careless and neglectful.
But when we cling too tightly to outcomes, we will miss out on the beauty of allowing God’s perfect will to come to pass.
What if Jesus had said “no” to God? What if He had run away when things got tough? What if Jesus had decided His calling just wasn’t worth the risk?
You and I would be lost forever.
We would never know what it’s like to experience the gift of salvation.
Instead of always asking “What if?” maybe we should shift our perspective. Maybe it’s time to start releasing our grip on what we think the future holds, and started trusting in the one who holds our future.
Your Part to Play
Likewise, I believe we all have something to offer to this world. We all have a unique part to play. We are not meant shrink back and cower in fear. We are meant to move forward with confidence, knowing that no matter what happens, we will come out with the upper hand.
We are victors not victims!
Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, we all can make an impact in our atmosphere (yes, even if you are practicing social distancing). You are no exception. Even as you are navigating through these chaotic, unpredictable times, you can still receive the power you need to access peace in this anxious world.
Maybe you are living in quarantine right now. Maybe you can’t go to work. Maybe you are forced to work under stressful conditions. Maybe your whole life has been put on hold due to setbacks. You can still make a difference, right where you are. During this time of uncertainty, you can be the person to offer kindness and stability. You can make up your mind today, that you will do what is right no matter the cost. You can choose to make your decisions out of faith, not fear.
I don’t know what will happen in these coming months. In fact, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow…But I have decided that I will remain in peace, no matter what happens. I will choose to be a source of light to those around me.
What will you do?
John 14:27- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Matthew 16:25-“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”