March 5, 2020
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North Dakota's a long way from Wuhan, China. But our friend Wes has been seeing more and more customers wearing masks in the local Walmart. He says he's going to start telling them "to calm down." Then, thinking of how fear can spook the stock market, he said, "Then I'm going to thank them for destroying my 401(k)."
Well that may not be the best response but it is a reflection of the increasing fear that a whole lot of people are feeling right now. I mean, you think about the impact of this one virus - cities shut down and economies slowing down. Travel cancellations. Wall Street in freefall. Major events being cancelled.
Some are calling it a pandemic, which means it's everywhere. But beyond any medical pandemic there is another pandemic. Fear.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Fear Goes Viral."
You know as bad as the Coronavirus scare is, this anxiety thing is even bigger than that. I was with some mission leaders from around the world recently and they basically summed up what's going on in the world this way - "The nations are being shaken." And they are.
So many peoples. So many places. And now we've got this ominous cloud of Coronavirus hanging over us. So many unknowns. So many disturbing possibilities. And, so much fear.
Now, Precautions are good but panic and paralysis...no, they're not. But we feel vulnerable - and it's more than a feeling. We really are vulnerable. You think, for example, what happens when we have an extended power outage. Or with the pervasive dependence we have on technology, what happens if there's a cyber meltdown or attack? There's a lot to fear. Or maybe not.
The most repeated command in the world's best-selling book, the Bible, is this... "Do not be afraid."
Really? Do not be afraid? With runaway viruses...metastasized terror threats...and political storm clouds...financial storm clouds and mass shootings...and then even our personal crises like getting bad news from the doctor.
Is it reasonable to ask us to "not be afraid"? Well, not if our security is something vulnerable. Something we could lose.
The Bible says in Psalm 11, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Well that's a fascinating question because our foundations are shaking right now. And then it goes on to say this, "The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord is on His heavenly throne" (Psalm 11:3-4). In other words, when everything's out of control, God is still ultimately in control. So He says in our word for today form the Word of God in Isaiah 43 beginning with verse 1, "Do not fear…when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…for I am the Lord your God…I love you".
I've been in several life-threatening situations on airlines, I've heard a doctor say my wife was "Code Blue." Thinking I would lose the love of my life that day. In many situations like that, God has come along with this supernatural peace.
Because my Anchor held. Here's how it's described in Romans 8, "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord". That's my anchor. It's a Relationship that's disease-proof, it's disaster-proof, it's death-proof. I don't deserve this love but I can't lose it. It was proven when Jesus died on the cross to absorb the death penalty for me, for you, rejecting God's rule of our life. And then, He was resurrected three days later and He validated His power to beat even death. Let me tell you, that's an anchor that holds.
And as for our loved ones. The Bible says, "I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him" (2 Timothy 1:12). This relationship is life's one anchor that holds.
Several years ago there were monster tornadoes in Oklahoma and I read about this mother and daughter who barely got the door on their safe room closed in time. A couple hours later they went out to find their neighborhood gone - their house gone. They lost a lot that day. But they were okay because they had one place that could survive the storm.
Millions of people have found that in Jesus. I'm one of them. And you can be.
You want to know how to get started in that relationship with Him? Go to our website - ANewStory.com. Because Jesus, in this world, is your one safe place.