Peace. In a world full of fear about the coronavirus pandemic, we could all use more peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Instead of being anxious about what could happen, I have to pray to God with thanksgiving. Then His peace protects my heart and mind.
Thanksgiving is the key to peace in this passage. When we choose to focus on the good things instead of the bad, the focus moves to God’s ability and His provision. Thankfulness is a spiritual weapon that changes the atmosphere and allows God to pierce through our worries.
Here’s some questions that address anxieties I imagine many of us face during these strange times. Praising God and holding to His word will get us through the days ahead.
What if I can’t handle social distancing and get really lonely?
Social distancing is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I get my energy from being around people, so this is a real concern. Instead of stressing over potential loneliness, I can thank God for promising to never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I can praise God for modern technology like Skype and Zoom that allow my church and Bible study to meet online. I can hand write cards to friends in other cities. I can call a friend who lives in another time zone with whom I don’t get to talk often. God will not leave me isolated. I just have to ask Him to reveal to me new ways to show His love to others.
How will I pay the bills?
Many people are being told not to come into work. We have to shelter in place to flatten the curve so fewer people get the coronavirus. For the millions of people in the United States who are paid hourly wages, this hit can be scary. Matthew 6:31-33 says, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
God knows we worry about our needs because we are human. Earlier in Matthew 6, God points out that He feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies. Because we are worth much more than the birds and flowers, God will care for us. He knows our needs and will make a way to get us through this season. There may be difficulties, but we aren’t to doubt God. We look to Him as our Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider. If the Lord provided ravens to feed Elijah by a stream (1 Kings 17:1-6), when we seek His kingdom first, He will feed us too.
What if I run out of toilet paper?
While I cannot control that I didn’t buy toilet paper fast enough, I can thank God for the toilet paper I do own. I might have listened to the voice of panic instead of the voice of the Provider when I realized I only had two rolls left. Four stores and no toilet paper later, God reminded me I had friends. He would meet my needs. I think of the widow whose oil did not run out as she helped Elijah (1 Kings 17:8-16). I serve a God of miracles. If I don’t have enough toilet paper, He can make it last indefinitely. Worry won’t add one sheet of toilet paper to my roll, but trusting God can help it stretch until more becomes available. The Lord cares about every aspect of our lives, even toilet paper.
Though we live in uncertain times, we can be certain that God’s mercy endures forever. The hand of the Almighty is not shortened. The same God who laid the foundation of the world will see us through until He calls us home to heaven (Philippians 1:6). Find things to thank God for during this flu season. Ask Him for His perspective on your situation. Choose to grow deeper in Your trust in the Lord instead of allowing fear to consume you. Then walk in peace.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.