A Message of Hope in a Time of Fear
Mar 31, 2020 5814
My Dear Friends
You can have hope in this time of fear! Supermarket shelves are stripped bare, people are forbidden from gathering, and even churches are closing. What are we as Christians to make of all this?
I want to tell you not to be afraid. This is the word of the Lord (Isaiah 41:10). However, I don’t hold to that glib form of Christianity that says that if you pray hard enough, nothing bad will ever happen to you. You know well that at times in the past depression has afflicted God’s people, cancer has taken the righteous and that the martyrs still died.
In the Bible, when God repeatedly tells you not to be afraid, it is commonly followed by the reason why. It isn’t because the bad stuff won’t happen to us. It’s because, as God says many times, “I am with you.” He will be with us through the trial. You can have hope in a time of fear.
This is illustrated so well by the story of Daniel’s friends in Babylon. When King Nebuchadnezzar threatens to throw them into the burning furnace for refusing to bow to his idol, they answer him:
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV).
Although their situation seemed hopeless, they held onto their hope in a time of fear. Their faith is based on the fact that they are certain their God is stronger than Nebuchadnezzar. They know that God can deliver them. However if he allows them to go through affliction, still they will not abandon their faith. And Christ himself was with them.
I can assure you that our God is most definitely stronger than COVID-19. It is right and appropriate to pray for health and deliverance. And as you do that, remember that even if you have to suffer, your God will be with you always. In every circumstance, you can have hope in a time of fear.
Fear in society is nothing new. In 1948, C.S. Lewis wrote an essay entitled, “On Living in an Atomic Age” :
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation….
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
What C.S. Lewis is saying here is that in times of crisis the Lord should find us doing what is most important: living our lives as his children and doing his work, rather than huddled in fear:
It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns (Matthew 24:46, NIV).
Indeed, the present circumstances of the world give us a special opportunity to speak with our friends about the hope we have in Christ, and it should provide us with renewed urgency in making sure that the message of the Gospel is heard and received by as many as possible. Perhaps your work of sharing the Gospel of Christ through GNU has only just begun! As the Bible continually tells us, time is short! Share hope in a time of fear!
It is also important to realise that at a time when gatherings of people are discouraged or forbidden, and even churches must close their doors, GNU is uniquely positioned to continue its work of evangelising the world. Because GNU is a digital ministry, we can reach people right where they are, bringing them hope in a time of fear, whether in self-isolation or in hospital, anywhere in the world!
Churches in various countries have had to suspend their meetings for a time. I would encourage you to connect more deeply with GNU through digital means. We offer:
1. Daily email devotions
2. Blogs, articles, audio and videos on our website www.goodnewsunlimited.com
3. Bible reading plans on the Youversion app (https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/)
4. A regular online prayer meeting with me through Facebook every Friday evening at 6.45 pm Brisbane time. To access it you need to apply to join the GNU Prayer Room here (https://www.facebook.com/groups/GNUDiscipleship/).
5. A regular weekly online Bible study with me and the GNU community through Facebook every Friday evening at 7 pm Brisbane time. To access it you need to apply to join the GNU Discipleship Room here (https://www.facebook.com/groups/gnuprayerandencouragement/)
Here are some practical steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19:
And here is some information about how GNU can help you stay close to God and grow your hope in a time of fear:
Please stay safe, and remember whom we serve.
Grace and Peace
Good News Unlimited