By Janelle Pollard
Each new year brings with it excitement and hope. While 2020 was not without countless blessings, it will forever be remembered as a time when fear gripped the lives of millions. “What if I get COVID-19?,” “What if someone I love gets it?” These are just a couple of questions many of us may have asked ourselves. I believe it’s completely natural to be afraid to a point. I doubt many people can truthfully say that this virus hasn’t caused them any fear whatsoever. We are only human and tend to be somewhat fearful of the unknown. However, as Christians, what really matters is what we do with that fear.
While there is nothing wrong with being fearful of contracting a deadly virus, there IS something wrong with allowing that fear to control our lives. As a nurse, I have taken care of many patients with the COVID-19 virus. I know it’s real and I know that people are losing their lives from it. There is no doubt that this is a scary time, but we, as Christians, have something that the rest of the world does not. We have the hope of heaven after this life. We can rest in the fact that as Christians, we no longer have to fear death. When we remember that this world is not our home, we realize we don’t have to live in fear of dying. I’m not suggesting that there will no longer be any fear in our lives. But I am suggesting that when we remember Who is in control, we will be able to get through these times with a few less stomach ulcers.
Living in peace amidst a nation living in fear brings attention to the Christian. For those who aren’t Christians and don’t know that kind of peace, it may seem unnatural. They are likely to become curious. “How are you not afraid? How are you not constantly worried to leave your house?” When we look and act different than everyone else, the world is intrigued. Especially during a time such as this, people are naturally drawn to those who are joyful, peaceful, and less anxious. Let’s remember that non-Christians are in desperate need of a Savior. If we can use a horrible situation to bring others to Christ, why wouldn’t we?
Here are a few things we can do to lead others to Christ during a time of fear and uncertainty:
1. Instead of talking about the latest number of those with the virus, let’s talk about the number of visitors we’ve had at church lately. Let’s share—with our co-workers, friends, social media, etc.—how exciting it is that many people have been showing up to visit our congregation lately. This takes the focus away from the virus and places it on the excitement of church growth. Non-Christians have become accustomed to hearing so much negativity lately, more so than normal. Hearing people talk about how COVID has brought blessings will most likely cause them to stop and want to know more.
2. Let others know that we would like to pray for them and/or their family by name at our church. What a breath of fresh air to someone who isn’t used to being prayed for. (And don’t just ask. Remember to pray!) Take these names to your elders. Ask if they can be included in the bulletin or prayer list. Let your friends know that you and your congregation have been praying for them. Ask for updates. That way they will know it wasn’t just something that “sounded good in the moment” and that you genuinely care.
3. Use social media to post Scriptures about trusting in God and His faithfulness to His followers. Some people on our friends list may have never heard some of these Scriptures. Reading something so comforting will hopefully cause others to want to know more. This is a time when people are searching for something they can hold onto. Let’s lead them to the only One who can give this kind of life-changing peace. Here are a few great examples:
- Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way…Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
- Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
4. Ask God to give us peace and take away our fear. God never promised that the world wouldn’t be scary or that we wouldn’t go through hard times. But He does promise that He will always be there for us. Let’s take comfort in knowing that!