It’s day three of Coronavirus shut-down. In my neck of the woods we’ve not been mandated to shelter in place, but today the President advised meeting in groups of no larger than 10. That pretty much shuts down most group activities we’ve been involved in.
How are you doing with this? I have to admit I’ve had better weeks than last week. First it was all the conjecture about the government running our lives and shutting us down, just. like. that! Then it was news of COVID-19’s symptoms, incubation periods, and washing hands. Oh, and yes, there’s the toilet paper thing! What really got to me were a couple of posts I read about life in lockdown in Wuhan and also in Italy. I guess it was at that point that reality really set in: our lives were forever changed in a way we just didn’t see coming.
With elderly parents in an assisted living facility nearby, I cautiously took them to dr. appointments last Thursday in a neighboring city. We went to lunch. We talked. And we laughed. Then I went to Costco because I needed groceries. My parents opted to remain in the car while I shopped. What I witnessed inside, began the fear lump in my throat. No paper products of any kind. No sanitizing products. The meat counter was scarily empty. Shelves were obviously stocked but supplies were down from what is normal at Costco. And the people. Many, many more people than I’ve ever seen in our Costco! The wait in line was long, longer there than all the time it took me to shop.
When we returned home, I took my parents back to their place. We were met at the door by one of the directors who informed me I couldn’t come in and that my parents would no longer be able to leave unless for dr. appointments or emergency situations. I understood but I knew my mom would worry about all the family out of her range.
Now the fear lump grew. I wrestled for the next three days over all this. Each day brought more bad news. More restrictions, more cases, more people in jeopardy. And then, on my daily phone call with my mom on Saturday, I heard the fear in her voice. She knows that I’m the one who pays her bills, makes her appointments, tends to their getting to wherever they need to go. She said, “you have to stay well! You’re the one who takes care of us and our needs and we’ll have no one if something happens to you!”
That reality had already crossed my mind and was the main reason behind the lump of fear churning in my stomach. Our church had announced they would still have service on Sunday, but they were going to go live on Facebook for anyone who opted to remain at home. I had decided already that I would stay home in the attempt to minimize exposure, even though our town had no reported issues at this point. When I reassured Mom we were staying at home and not going to church, I could hear the relief in her voice.
So, we’d kind of made the decision to stay home on Saturday and shelter in place. Today is Monday. Day three. So far, it hasn’t been bad. I’ve reached out to neighbors and we’ve all agreed to give a shout if someone is going to the store so we can minimize all of us going. We enjoyed church on the web (after we got some technical problems solved!). We prayed with the National Day of Prayer for our home, town, region, state, country and world.
Today seems more manageable. As I’ve read news updates, I’m able to be more discerning about what is fear mongering by the media and what is solid fact. My fear is abating. Unfortunately I’m the kind of person who struggles with fear periodically. I’m learning that when fear begins to grab hold, I must aggressively begin to capture my thoughts and sort through what’s fear and what’s rational thinking for the situation.
Just three weeks ago, before all this COVID-19 stuff really heated up, I had had another bout of fear threatening to wreck a much needed vacation. I’ll spare you the details but the fear resulted in anxiety and that was about to swamp me. That night, laying in bed with my husband, I told him of my plight. I thought I needed to go home because I was going down emotionally and I thought I needed help. Well, I was right about needing help, but it wasn’t what I had in mind when I first told him about it.
I’d been reading a book while I was there and the chapter I’d read the night before suddenly popped into my mind. I began retelling it’s message to my husband. And it basically boiled down to one thing…worship is a weapon! I realized I needed to take captive my thoughts, right then and there and do a little warfare. We believe that the enemy is real and that he loves to trip us up, over big things and little things. This was what appeared to be an all-out attack on my peace. So we fought back, even though I didn’t feel much like it!
We began by singing a couple of worship songs we knew by heart. We then declared that the place we were in was safe territory, covered by the blood of Jesus and unceremoniously kicked out anything not of God to depart – RIGHT NOW! We then sang again and then began thanking God for everything we could think of. Finally, we ended our time praising God for who He is, what He has done in our lives, and for giving us the opportunity to live a wonderful life. This probably took 45 minutes. And then we went to sleep.
I slept like an absolute log that night (this is quite unusual for me!). And the next day? I felt like a brand new person. Wow God! Anxiety was gone, fear was gone, and I felt energized and alive. All this to say, there is a God-provision for us all through the days we now find ourselves in.
It’s ok to tune into the news or read the latest updates about this dilemma. But I would warn you, don’t linger there and instead, try to turn your attention to God and what He has to say about such things.
Matthew 24:6-7 (NKJV)
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
James 1:2-3 (NKJV)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
These three Scriptures are just the tip of many, encouraging us to rejoice, even in hard times. The Good News of the Gospel tells us that these things are not uncommon to man, meaning we all go through trials. And here’s the thing: we’re all going through this trial together! The economics of our country will come back. COVID-19 won’t last forever; this is just the normal cold/flu season and when we get down the road a couple of months, this thing will be a memory. Hopefully, the death tolls won’t be so bad if we join in this sheltering in place thing and help kill this virus.
If you’re especially having a difficult time, try what I did a few weeks ago, even if you don’t even think you have the energy or desire to do it:
- Worship God. If you don’t know any songs by heart, get on YouTube and look some up. Use your worship as a weapon! Sing until you feel like singing more. Even when you don’t feel like it, SING and dedicate your worship to God.
- If you recognize that the enemy may be involved in your struggle, command him to leave your premises, your mind, and your peace now in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
- Thank God for everything you can think of. Your home, shelter, electricity, food in the fridge, that loaf of bread, your children, your job, etc. You get the idea.
- Now praise God for who He is. He’s the Alpha, the Omega (the beginning and the end of all things), ruler, King, Abba Father, provider, etc.
- Finally, end with another song or two of worship.
Remember, we’re all in this together. If we were all to do this simple exercise, might we be able to turn the table on this virus? Let’s try, shall we! Banded together in the love of Christ, anything can happen!
I’d love to hear your testimonies! Blessings, protection, and healing on you and yours…
Good word Linda. I can testify to the truth of this! I’ve dealt with fear in my past. I’m grateful to be free of it now. Worship is my go to when anxiety does try to sneak in on me.
Bless you and Butch. And your folks!
Excellent word, my friend. New victories to share in times to come!