FEARFUL TIMES: Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Presidential Election
In the words of Bob Dylan’s famous song, “The times they are a-changin’.” And change often brings fear. Right now three things in particular are fueling the latest round of fear for many: Coronavirus, the volatility of the stock market, and the looming presidential election. It seems that the 24-hour news cycle is regularly stoking fear on all three fronts.
Our fears are debilitating and can rob us of our energy, our dreams, and our opportunity to move forward with basic tasks. Has fear ever reached its icy fingers into your core and terrorized you? It may have been a cancer scare, a threatened financial crisis, or a phone call at 4:00 am. Fear can easily consume our thoughts and our lives—it certainly can for me! Fear can literally paralyze us, and it’s doing just that for some of you reading this blog right now.
In the 1960s, Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached a powerful sermon entitled, “Fear of the Future”, and it’s still a classic to this day. It’s also included as a chapter in his book, Spiritual Depression, and is one of my favorite sermons to listen to and read. Lloyd-Jones based that particular message on 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” I would highly encourage you to get Lloyd-Jones’ book and read this particular sermon.
The question is this: how is a follower of Jesus to respond to fear? In Psalm 56, David writes, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” By doing this, David was consciously placing his trust in the living God, who never leaves us. We find the comforting words fear not over 100 times in the Bible. Did you realize that this is a command—fear not? It’s the most repeated command in the Bible. It is a command, in the midst of fear, to think about God…a lot! And it means that the key to battling fear is ultimately good theology. Much of the time, fear is rooted in bad theology—small thoughts about God and His role in the world. One of the most effective antidotes to depression and fear is to spend time seriously studying Scripture. This is more than just devotional reading. There is something about engaging the mind with Scripture that has a way of placing our feet on solid ground.
I think God repeated the command to fear not so often because He knew how frail we could be. He knows that when we are paralyzed with fear, it is difficult for us to hear His voice. When fear comes, focusing on it only increases the problem. Instead, deliberately place your hope and trust in God by telling Him you’re afraid and asking Him for strength. Read Scripture. Recite Scripture. Chew on Scripture. Let God speak comfort to you. Run to His promises and keep reciting them. Reprogram your mind—battling fear is a mind game. Let your mind run your emotions and not the other way around. You’ll be amazed at the comfort God’s Word can bring. Fear not! God may not remove the circumstances, or He may, but what He does promise is to remove the fear. Fear is never God’s will for His own.
I will close with a verse I’ve recited more than any other verse when it comes to fear, especially in the middle of the night. I believe that it is a promise made to all true Christians. It comes from 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.” Now that’s worth memorizing and camping on!
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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