We are indeed living in tumultuous times. The question is – how can you keep your head when all around are losing theirs? (Thank you, Mr. Kipling – the poet, not the pastries!)
As expected, Autumn has brought a massive increase in the rate of Covid-19 infections, a so-called second wave. The UK nations, like France, Germany, Spain and other European nations are responding with variations of lockdowns to protect the public, leading to Fear, Anger and Frustration for millions. The threat to life and health is real, vividly seen not only by the shocking statistics but by the experience of those who have suffered Covid’s ravages and lived to tell the tale.
We all have a natural tendency to long for a nice, quiet, peaceful world where everything is ‘just so’. Jesus was more realistic. Warning his followers of what to expect, he said ‘And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once’. Luke 21:9Notice his words? When, not if. ‘Do not be terrified.’
The first UK lockdown shocked us with an unexpected fear-filled crisis. There was a desperation to survive and, generally speaking, people obeyed the rules.
This time it feels different. In fact, everything feels different. Why is that? Maybe:
Because the incidents and manner of deaths, though large in number, are proportionally so small, lockdowns can feel like a disproportionate response. The majority of us might not have experienced Covid-19 in their family or circle of friends, so the personal threat might seem far less real than when we first heard about it.
There is a clear lack of political consensus regarding an appropriate and proportionate response to the pandemic. In the UK the current party of government is itself strongly divided and critical of lockdowns, particularly referencing the economic losses involved by closing businesses.
Politics is a messy business by nature anyway, but this year we have seen endless footage of the Presidential Election in the USA, violence and murder on the streets, riots, the sense of democracy itself as we have known it coming under attack. People in other nations have taken to the streets to protest against their totalitarian leaders.
Brexit negotiations with Europe continue for the moment, but will we leave with or without a deal? Will Brexit debates go on forever?
We are aware of the economic challenges facing the world because of the Covid-inspired recession. In the UK, many have lost their jobs and it has been noticed that middle-class families are now arriving at Food banks, not to help but to be helped.
Few seem to speak about the challenge of the poor.
Take tiny Wales, a nation with a population of 3 million. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report on Poverty in Wales, it was a poor nation before the Pandemic broke out. Covid has made it worse:
- Almost a quarter of the population are living in poverty, including 180,000 children.
- 400,000 are now behind with their bills.
- 200,000 are behind with their rent/mortgage payments
- The number of claimants for Universal Credit doubled between January and August this year.
Poverty is expected to worsen as the recession deepens this winter. When pressure is applied to any population it is generally the poor who suffer most.
Keeping our heads and dealing with fear
Fear is infectious. We say that people lose their heads, their ability to think and respond to situations rationally.
If we stop and take notice of developments in the world around us, we too can be gripped by fear. Jesus is the one who speaks the words ‘Do not fear’. In the OT God says to the people ‘Do not be afraid’.
Christian sports stars teach kids in the South Wales Valleys how to deal with fear. Using FEAR as an acronym, amongst others it can stand for Forget Everything And Run. Then they show them the better possibility for Christians: Face Everything And Rise!
The question is – how do I keep my head when others are losing theirs? It’s a question with a clue embedded in it. Fear comes when we lose our head; our ability to step back, evaluate, recognize danger, assess our resources for the situation, and choose how best to make a response.
We who are followers of Jesus have incredible resources available to us to aid us in life.
- We are able to claim the helmet of salvation which protects our thought processes. Let’s put it on every day – every hour if necessary.
- We have authority in the name of Jesus to rebuke fear and tell it where to go. Let’s use it.
- We have peace available to us, extraordinary peace beyond anything the world can know or understand. Let’s drink deeply.
- We have The promises of God, and faith that he who began a good work in us will complete it. Let’s trust and believe in his care.
- We have an offer of rest, stillness in the storm, serenity in the face of all enemies. Let’s avail ourselves of it all.
Here’s the remarkable word of God:
“Blessed are the ones who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. They are like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”Jer 17:7-8 (My translation)
Though the world shakes I will put my trust in you.
I rebuke fear in the name of Jesus.
You hold the past, the present and the future, so I am secure.
In this time of shaking, will you hold me, fill me with peace and confidence, cause my faith to arise and help me to stand firm when attacked by fears. I refuse to be ruled or pressured by fear. Jesus is my shepherd, my ruler. I shall not be shaken.
And while the world is shaken, will you draw many to yourself. Let your wonderful heavenly rule break out on earth. Be with those who are working on the development of vaccines. Father, give them extraordinary insights. Cause breakthroughs to come from their work.
I bless you, God of the Universe.
I bless you in the name of Jesus that the Peace of God may fill you utterly, body, soul and spirit. I bless you that he may keep you in perfect peace.Roy Godwin
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© Roy Godwin 2020