Last week I was in the hospital getting tests done. One of them was the swab-in-the-nose test for coronavirus. While it was a relief to find out that I didn’t have the virus, I knew better. The virus had me.
At the beginning of the outbreak, as businesses closed down, as hospitals closed to elective surgeries, and as we closed our church to in-person worship, I began to feel it… a tightening in the chest, a clenching of the jaw, a mind restlessly replaying numbers from the news. With health issues putting my wife and I both in the high-risk category, my elevated stress level was undeniable. And so I did the only thing I know to do when things are beyond my control. I took it to God.
Fear has its purposes. It help us realize our limits and keeps us from danger. But ultimately, it is there to direct our hearts towards God... “for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love, and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). I can’t say honestly that I am fearless, but I know who to turn to when I am afraid.
Among the uncertainties we are facing every day, some things are still reliable and sure: that God loves us, cares for us, and hears our prayers. In Romans 5, St. Paul writes, “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us...” Let us use this unprecedented situation, not to deny the fear or danger of the moment, but to recognize what is beyond our control and seek the strength that God offers. God invites you down the pathway of prayer, to discover peace and exchange your fears for hope.
Pastor Scott Lindner
Atonement Lutheran Church