Since February 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and now its many variants, have been infecting more than our bodies with disease; they have been infecting our psyches with fear. And this fear has spread much faster and its reach far greater than the biological virus itself, infecting young and old, trade and transportation, all of daily life.
In his article in the Epoch Times entitled "Fear: A Disease of Our Time", Dr. Peter Weiss recounts seeing a patient who came to him wearing a hat, two face masks, and over-sized plastic gloves. When he asked her why she was equipped in such a way, she said that she has a 7-year-old to protect.
Weiss lamented that, unfortunately, he had seen far too many patients like her. He goes on to say:
Fear has become a disease of our time. Fear is commonly defined as the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain or act as a threat, such as a shark swimming next to you.
. . . Fear is a healthy emotion to own when applied within reason. But there are also irrational fears that don’t compel us toward better decisions—only toward more fear.
I agree. Fear can benefit us, like fear of a snarling dog, a swimming shark, or a real virus. But fear can also paralyze us, as in the words of a character from the movie, Dune, “Fear is the great mind-killer.” It is this fear that kills our minds, preventing us from making rational decisions. It is this fear that robs us of our peace, preventing us from calmly dealing with daunting challenges.
You may be infected with fear right now. Do you fear losing your job? Do you fear retirement? Or a disintegrating relationship? Fear for your ailing parents? A failing marriage? Of being alone? Do you fear what’s happening to our country? Are you fearful for your children or grandchildren?
If any of these fears—or others – apply to you, you are not alone, because fear is as natural as eating an apple.
It is now and always has been endemic to the human condition, beginning with Adam’s first reply to God, after the fall, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Gen. 3:10)
Adam answered that he “was afraid because he was naked” was not due to modesty, according to my Bible’s study notes. Rather this fear was due to the shame that Adam felt because of his rebellion and because, perhaps, his fear of punishment.
So fear is a natural part of us, a part of our “natural man.” And in times like these, it gets amplified, with both real reasons and speculative spectres.
But we as Christians are no longer “natural men”—or “natural women.” We have been redeemed by the precious blood of God’s own son, Jesus, and have triumphed over sin and death through his glorious resurrection.
And whatever it is you fear, know that this fear comes first and foremost from our separation from God at the fall and is used as a tool of our enemy, Satan, to freeze our souls, to stop us in our tracks, to make us feel separated from God, the God—our “Daddy”—who loves us more than we can imagine.
Since fear is interwoven into the very fiber of our being—and since we as Christians are constantly fighting this natural state—we can’t conquer our fear ourselves, no matter how many positive affirmations we may say. We can only conquer it through hearing, believing, and trusting the powerful Word of God.
In Jesus’ own words:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
So, my dear ones, to help you conquer your fears, whatever they may be, I leave you with some Bible passages to read, reflect upon, and retain in your hearts and minds.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)
“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.” (I John 4:16b-19, NLT)
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Psalm 118:6, NLT)
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4, NLT)
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25)
So, dear ones. Take heart. Although you are--and always will be--experiencing very real trouble in this world, remember that Jesus Christ has overcome the world.