Fear Not! And Don’t Panic!

There is no reason that Christians should fear. Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My Righteous Right Hand.  
  1. Respond with Faith – We trust in God
US Marines run into Danger to protect our families. “Semper Fi” has cost the lives of thousands, to save the lives  of 100’s of thousand’s & set them free from tyranny & death. We are all beneficiaries of their sacrifices & we call them hero’s, and that is what they shall remain.  
 
Down through the centuries Christians have run into plague filled villages to help the sick, while many others feared for their lives and ran away.  They were just as courageous if not more, than those Marines. They were walking into certain death. But they were fighting a different war. Those followers of Jesus were members of God’s Kingdom. They were in this world fighting against the tyranny of sin and sickness. They stood against all forms of evil trusting God with their lives.  For them, to live meant to help those who were suffering, to minister to the afflicted to the poor, and to help ease their pain. They are God’s heroes.  Hero’s of The Faith. God has called us to those who are hungry to those in prison and are in need, to the poor, the diseased & dying.   Those early followers were not afraid to die for the cause of Christ.  They heard His call & they ran to serve their King, knowing that if God allowed them to die, He would receive them into His paradise.  
 
Sociologist/Historian Rodney Stark explored one such one example where in AD 251 a plague swept through the Roman Empire decimating the people.  In the Bishop’s Easter letter, around AD 260, Dionysius wrote a tribute to the believers whose heroic efforts cost many of them their lives during the plague.  “Pagans tended to flee the cities during plagues, but Christians were more likely to stay and minister to the suffering.” According to Dionysius: “Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of the danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy.”  Dionysius later added: “The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner, a number of presbyters, deacons, and laymen winning high commendation so that death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way the equal of martyrdom.”[1]   When the sick and dying asked them why they stayed, the answer was always the same, “to show them that God loved them”.  “He sent us that you might be saved, if not from this sickness, then saved from your sins and the sins of this dying & decaying world.  God wants you to live forever with Him, in His eternity.”  
 
Now while you might not want to rush and join a medical team, or the Navy Seals, remember that you are still a child of God and you can trust in Him.  There is no reason to let fear rule over you. Our God has given us our “faith in Him”.  No matter what happens, come health or disease, come life or come death, He is the master of our lives & we do trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5 & 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Do not rely on your own insight
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make straight your path.”  
 
During the Fall of 1793, yellow fever gripped the city of Philadelphia. Historian Richard Newman writes that, “from the moment it began, the yellow fever epidemic was a public-health crisis. Thousands of citizens fled, hospitals became overwhelmed, and dead bodies rotted in homes.”[2] Within this crisis, it was the emerging black church under the leadership of Richard Allen which entered into the suffering. Some assumed that persons of African descent were immune to Yellow Fever, and the free black community was approached to provide help. Spurned by the church they had served and slandered by others, Allen and his church served the sick when others isolated themselves for fear of catching the disease.  
 
Reflecting on Allen’s response and its legacy, Ed Stetzer wrote: “Despite the overt racism he faced, Allen modeled an empathetic approach to loving his neighbors. Allen and his fellow volunteers were heartbroken over the suffering of the sick. They resonated with those patients who had been cast out… Allen never lost sight of the truth: Those around him were lost and needed Jesus. His empathy informed his witness, and it is one reason why the AME grew and his name is remembered today.”[3]  
  1. Respond with Wisdom – Use your common sense.
With all the knowledge we have about viruses today there are a lot of things that we know that we should do in order to keep ourselves healthy. Every year we have a life killing flu virus killing 10,s of thousands.    What should you do?  Hibernate?  Or use common sense?
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals. And keep your hands away from your face. After being with others, wash your hands in hot water with soap for 20 seconds.  If not practical, then use hands sanitizers until you can wash thoroughly.  
 
Joshua 1:9 niv “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid! Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.   Fear Not!  Don’t let the media scare you.  If someone offers their hand, I am going to shake it.  And if someone needs a hug, I am going to deliver. He who is within us, is greater than he is in the world.  
 
[1] Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became a Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1997), 82.
 
[2] Richard S. Newman, Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 85.
 
[3] Ed Stetzer, Christians in the Age of Outrage: How to Bring our Best when the World is at its Worst (Carol Stream: Tyndale Momentum, 2018), 79-80.

One Response to “Fear Not! And Don’t Panic!”

  1. Sue Libby says:

    Great message. I’ve been reading Psalm 91…wonderful promises. God bless

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