It seems to me that much of the world has been taken by storm with the Coronavirus. I say this because of the mass quarantines in several countries, travel restrictions, stock market impact, event cancellations, grocery store raids and the general chit chat on the street with total strangers. We are wearing masks, buying unfathomable quantities of toilet paper (even though it’s not a digestion virus), scouring our hands and maybe adjusting our work location, as I think about the personal impact this virus is making on our daily living.
To be fair, Corona is highly contagious and way more concerning for older people with health issues than younger people who are healthy with strong immune systems. So there’s definitely some wisdom in paying attention to our health and being prudent about our interactions.
At the same time, I would suggest that there’s a more lethal virus than Corona spreading throughout the world at lightning speed. This virus is even more contagious and changes our actions, conversations, attitudes and outlooks. Furthermore, every human is susceptible to this virus no matter the precautions we take by drinking extra water, avoiding human contact, beefing up our vitamin C intake and regardless of where we live or the access to modern medicine.
This is the fear virus and left unchecked, without observation or awareness, fear can leave us debilitated, lifeless and constrict our lives to hermit existence. Fear can also distort our perceptions and warp our decisions such that we don’t live out our divine blueprint.
One of the best biblical examples of the mutating and minimizing power of fear can be seen in the life of Saul, the king of Israel that preceded David. After Saul was anointed by Samuel to be king in 1 Samuel 9, Saul had some initial successes as Israel’s king. However, in a short time Saul let fear constrict his leadership in ways that prevented him from leading Israel to defeat the Philistines on several occasions, caused him to lie to Samuel and Saul attempted to kill David many times. When I look at the entirety of Saul’s life and his tragic conclusion, I see a man increasingly controlled by fear which grew to infect every part of his life including his family, leadership and his relationship with God. Saul died in battle against the Philistines in contrast to Samuel’s initial anointing on Saul to be king and defeat the Philistines.
I would suggest that fear can work in our lives in very insidious ways. When we let insecurity be a deciding factor with decisions, be certain that the fear virus is active in your life. When we over-achieve to make up for weaknesses or shortfalls, maybe fear has infected our perceptions. When we refrain from engaging with people (and not just from being more introverted or being super busy), it’s possible that fear is influencing our social interactions.
There are lots of ways that the fear virus infects our decisions, interactions and outlooks. We can be afraid of failing, getting hurt, making a mistake or poor decision, being rejected and heaps more. So it’s important to pause from time to time, and ask Holy Spirit to help us take a fear inventory in our lives, looking at possible decisions that are fear based as well as perceptions that could be fear infected. Let’s never forget that perfect love casts out fear! So wherever we sense fear in our lives, let’s nestle into God, Who is perfect love and let God’s love immunize us yet again from the fear virus.