It’s easy to say, “Don’t be afraid” of the global Covid-19 spread. It’s more difficult to maintain a state of trust when its effects have reached your life. Parents are scrambling to find daycare with school closures. People have lost their sole sources of incomes while their work places are closed or staffing significantly reduced. Life savings invested in businesses or in stocks are reducing by the hour.
And these things are just a few of the peripheral effects of the Coronavirus. The fear is real for people who have no health insurance; with compromised, chronic health issues; who care for children or adults with those issues; or are older adults. We know the virus is directly more threatening to those demographics.
It’s not that I haven’t been impacted personally, because I have. I empathise with those who are experiencing fear, but I have not felt it myself. I think a younger “me” would have succumbed to at least a portion of the anxiety others exhibit. I believe my current immunity to fear of Covid-19 is due to having forged a mindset of faith in the past. I have fought too many battles to count over the past two decades especially. I fight fear and anxiety as needed still. I assume I will always need to battle what comes against us.
Think of it as a muscle. Build it up. It’s work to do that, but ultimately there is payoff. As with exercise, choose for yourself what inspires you and helps you to stay focussed on peace and trust.
To maintain my confidence, it is essential to ingest only reasonable, factual information. I actively reject unfounded information and refuse to swallow the Kool Aid of lies. I am driven to refute and confront assertive influencers, their spoons outstretched, looking for naive or weak or vulnerable people to force-feed lies. For those vulnerable victims I confront the aggressors with truths (because one of the attributes of God is truth). I do battle on behalf of truth and my God who is too-often misrepresented.
The more I exercise my muscles to retain truth from those who try to wrestle it away, the stronger my foundation in truth. True is true; no amount of salesmanship can convince me otherwise. My firm foundation wasn’t built in a day. It wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. It was built by having to work at it. I found the solid rock on which I now stand, and clung to it whenever storms threatened to dislodge me. I fought to stay here against countless storms. I’m here now because of the work done in the past. My foundation and the structure that is my life that is built on it, was built over time, in all kinds of conditions, some of them life threatening.
Do what helps you stay in truth. I am a committed, “all-in” follower of Christ, so I go “all in” with who he is and what he says, digging in my heels more determined than ever at times like these. When crises knock on my door, and sometimes knock it down and enter, I entrench my stance in the belief that God wants good for us and never evil; he came to bring us life and to have it more abundantly; he is a God of power and wants to use it on our behalves.
Evil can overwhelm, and yes it can win. I don’t understand the “whys” and “hows” of this fact, considering God is almighty and all-powerful. I believe it has to do with the way he designed his relationship with mankind as founded on our free will. We aren’t puppets. We aren’t his pawns. We have choice. We are dealing with the choices of all of humanity over all of time. If we’ve been led astray by outright falsehoods or corrupted but widely accepted theologies, maybe it’s time to stop the cycle. It has to start somewhere, doesn’t it? Why not start with you?
He wants us to maintain the victory that Christ won for us at Calvary. That takes effort on our part, it takes work. That work is often done in our stances. Our minds are battlegrounds where fear imposes, panic threatens, and lies “whisper” into our spiritual “ears”.
It is our job to battle back. Maintain the victory that Christ won for us long ago. Don’t take it lying down. Get up, put on your boxing gloves, and, as Jesus did with Satan in the wilderness: refute the lies. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil spiritual forces. Battle the father of lies. Resist the devil and he will flee. Decide, “I’m not accepting this fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Surround yourself with what helps you do battle. Music helps me. I realize the music on this post may be too representative of a particular religious culture to you, and you may have an aversion to it (maybe rightly so, if you are detecting an impurity that needs to be removed from organized religion), or it may simply not be your taste. It’s only marginally my own taste, but I linked it because it is on point. More my taste is what I’m listening to right now: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Back Down”. Choose whatever music you prefer.
Other ways to facilitate hope are to read articles that support it. If you can’t stand your ground amid words of hopelessness and distress, remove yourself from the voices who propagate it. Take a walk. Enjoy nature. If you can’t do that, gaze at photos of beauty or empowerment. Do what speaks to you personally. Watch shows and movies of good winning and evil losing.
Surround yourself with whatever builds your faith and peace, and minimizes the bravado of fear.
Lasso your renegade thoughts. Face them and refute them with reason. Work your muscles to do these things until you think like conquerors think. They expect to win.
If, despite your best efforts, loss still comes to you, don’t suppose for a minute that your work was misdirected. If you were battling for good, truth, righteousness, and hope, you were on the right side. You were doing your best at that moment in time. You might very well have advanced your authority in the spiritual realm. You may not win this battle but you may win the next because of the progress you made.
Don’t give up the ground you’ve gained. Stand your ground. And when you’re ready, march forward once again to overtake evil with good.
Song credit and licensing belongs to Kristene DiMarco, Bethel Music.