Peace! Be Still!
The Gospel of Mark tells us about a time Jesus and the disciples were in a boat on a lake. A sudden, furious storm arose, and the boat was being swamped. The disciples were filled with fear. Jesus was asleep in the stern! They woke Him, and desperately said, "Master, don't you care if we drown?"
Mark 4:39 tells us what happens next. "And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." (Mark 4:39 ESV)
This COVID-19 virus feels like that furious storm on the lake. Our lives are being swamped. Everything is turned upside down. Some of us have been barred from working and have no income coming in. Some of us are working overtime to respond to the medical need and the physical needs of people who need to eat. Most of us are in self quarantine, severely minimizing contact with others. A few of us are ignoring the whole thing and going about business as usual, potentially becoming infected and spreading the virus. None of us knows how long it will be before life returns to some semblance of "normal."
What happened when Jesus spoke to the storm and it ceased its raging? "He said to them, 'Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?' And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, 'Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?' "
Jesus always looks for faith. It is not wrong to be afraid. That's a human reaction to a storm that threatens us. But faith means we know who has ultimate authority in our lives, and we trust Him. God's got this. And God's got me. And that's enough.
We have every reason to be concerned and to take every precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19. On the other hand, we have no reason at all to panic. Jesus is in the boat with us. The storm will not destroy Him, and it will not destroy us. Like those desperate disciples, let us call out to Jesus to stop the storm.
Let us pray for treatments for the virus. Let us pray for a vaccine to be quickly developed that will prevent it from infecting us. Let us pray for medical personnel and retail workers who are exhausted from battling the illness and providing food and necessities for all of us. And let us not make it worse by acting as if there's nothing to worry about and exposing ourselves and our loved ones to infection.
I trust God, but I also buckle my seatbelt. I trust God, but I also subscribe to car insurance. I trust God, but I also lock the doors of my house. I trust God, but I also use common sense in avoiding danger when I can.
So we are remaining home except for my working by myself in my office and an occasional run to town for groceries or a prescription. We are following the recommendations of the medical and governmental authorities. And we are praying. And even though the storm rages, we have heard Jesus say to our hearts, "Peace! Be still!" So we are not panicked. We are not afraid.
I hope you are meeting this storm with faith securely placed in Jesus! I hope you have heard Him say, "Peace! Be still!" to your heart. Know this: Jesus is enough. Fear is a liar. God's got this!