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A Peaceful Heart in Panicky Times

by Bob Russell

Written on March 15, 2020 

     Jesus promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). 

     Those are remarkable words, especially when understood in context. Jesus was within a few hours of being arrested, tortured, and crucified. He knew exactly what was going to happen to Him. In a few minutes, He was going to be sweating drops of blood. Yet in the midst of incredible pressure, He said, “My peace I give to you… don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

     We would do well to listen to Jesus’ words today. Most of us are deeply troubled by the worldwide threat of the Coronavirus and the unprecedented shutdowns of major public events. We’re accustomed to safety, protection, and dependability. We’ve not experienced this kind of uncertainty and danger for quite a while.

     Some are panicky, stocking up enough toilet paper, and hand sanitizer to last for years. Others spend hours watching the latest Coronavirus statistics and projections on cable news. Many wring their hands and share false rumors and questionable advice forwarded to them on social media.

     Our lives are dramatically unsettled right now. All of a sudden, we’re all reminded that we’re not in control. Our money isn’t dependable. Our government isn’t capable of protecting us from illness. Severe illness or maybe even death is possible. We feel vulnerable and insecure.  

     Perhaps God can use this uncertain time to humble us and force us to turn to Him. The Coronavirus reminds us there is only One Solid Rock upon which to build our lives – Jesus Christ. All other ground is sinking sand.

     A.W. Tozer wrote years ago, “A frightened world needs a fearless church.” Our children and neighbors don’t need to see us panic; they need to see a peace that passes understanding.  

     Listed below are seven familiar, calming Scriptures – one for each day. If you’re tempted to be anxious, memorize, and meditate on one verse each day. I’m confident this simple exercise will help bring peace to your heart in this time of uncertainty.

MONDAY

Joshua 1:9  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

TUESDAY

Psalm 46:1-2  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”

WEDNESDAY

Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

THURSDAY 

Matthew 6:25-26  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” 

FRIDAY 

John 16:33  “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

SATURDAY

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

SUNDAY 

Matthew 10:28   Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

     “When you fear God, you fear nothing else. If you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers

 

Bob Russell is retired minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10