Lessons from quarantine: Do not be afraid
By Al Earley
What was the most dangerous thing you have ever done to demonstrate your faith?
Thousands of Christians had lost their lives in northern Nigeria, and Christian veterinarians were the only ones the Muslims would let come to their community and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. A young Christian veterinarian cautiously entered a militant Muslim village where they were curious to see his skills, but first he had to gain their respect and trust by being placed in a ring with an enraged bull. He boldly stood in front of the beast for the opportunity to share the gospel. The bull began to snort and paw the ground and charged as he stood with outstretched arms in prayer.
Then it happened; they felt the power and presence of God. The bull came to a screeching halt, snorted, threw dirt on him, then turned and slowly walked away. When the herdsmen asked the Vet, he said the power of the Holy Spirit protected him. He immediately gained the respect of the herdsmen, and the door opened to share the gospel. (Story taken from “Divine Appointments: DO NOT FEAR | Teach to Transform”).
I share this story to remind us that our faith calls us to have courage in the face of fearful situations. I want to challenge us to not be afraid when we make decisions concerning our health in these COVID days. I challenge parents to be very careful not to have a spirit of fear when guiding your children. I challenge us to be full of trust in the Lord as we consider how we will live and how quarantined we will stay when such a contagious disease is present.
We read in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” We may have to make hard decisions, but we must avoid making those decisions in fear. The love of God gives us courage to face our fears and have the victory. If there are things this quarantine has forced you to deal with that have caused you fear, let God’s perfect love give you courage to live life to the fullest.
That is the first lesson about fear that we can learn from the last ten months. The second lesson is not to use fear as a tool to avoid doing what you don’t want to do. Throughout these last ten months I have seen people say they couldn’t do things because of their concerns of exposure, and then they turn around and go shopping or other places where the risk of exposure is high. This is lying to others, and it may be lying to ourselves. This quarantine is forcing us to look at what is important in our lives. Honesty with ourselves is hard to do, so I challenge you to recognize if you are using the quarantine as a way to get out of things you don’t want to do. Then look honestly at those things, and make decisions about what you will or won’t do based on your faith in God and His plan for your life.
Do you remember when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the statue under the threat of being fried to death in a fiery furnace. When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened them with death they said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it… 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 3:16-18). That is the kind of faith God wants us to have when we face the challenges of today.
We need not fear for our lives. God has numbered our days as we read in Psalm 139:4, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is” (see also Job 14:5). When we are living our lives in step with the Spirit we need not fear sin, death, or evil (Galatians 5:25). Have you found you are living your life this way? Do you think you live your life for the Lord? What changes do you need to make to live for the Lord more fully? May God bless you with good health, and a great faith journey today, and always!
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous columns, see www.lagrangepres.org.