What does it look like to follow Jesus at a time like this – one where it would be very easy to give ourselves over to fear? Here are a few key things to keep in mind
In a time like this, fear and panic are often a dominant emotion. But we are told: “Do not be anxious about anything,” instead we make our “requests known to God” and trust the promise that “the God of peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). Let’s use this moment to draw near to the God of love, who casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
And not only at a personal level: we as those who follow Jesus have an opportunity both to deepen our trust in God and to be a shining light to our world – in faith, in prayer, in words that point others to the hope we have in Jesus, and by loving those around us.
Knowing that we are so deeply loved by God means that we will be ready to share that love with those around us. That means following and taking seriously all the recommendations from our health care leaders so that we especially protect those who are most vulnerable in our community. It means caring for our neighbours around us in practical needs. Following Jesus will mean looking for ways to share and be a voice of kindness in our world. Human nature might be to hoard (it’s good to be prepared, of course), but solely looking out for our own interest is not the generous way of Jesus.
This is a time for deepening trust in Jesus, deepening prayer, and deepening love. Here are a few very practical things to consider that come from a pastor friend of mine.
- There are health-care workers in our church who may become exhausted. Let’s find ways to be caring and support them, and certainly be praying for them.
- People who are not generally prone to anxiety will find themselves more anxious in a time like this. Be gentle with them.
- We may be tempted to lash out or be harsh with people who say or post things that seem to be doing more harm than good. Be peacemakers.
The way of Jesus is the way of love. So, let’s be a people committed to following him, committed to faith over fear, and to love over self-interest, and look for every opportunity to share the hope we have in Christ during this time.
In the love of Jesus our Lord,