Fear Not by James Lynch
We have all probably heard the term “unprecedented” more in the last several weeks than many have in our entire lives before 2020. Although we may be tired of hearing it and other-like terminology, it is fitting, at least in reference to modern times. Possibly one of the most difficult aspects of this pandemic is the unknown. Some of these unknowns are concerning the virus itself, some are concerning the impact of this virus on our way of life, our finances, and our future. There are more questions than answers right now, and the answers we do have seem to change quickly as new information becomes available. Circumstances like these can certainly be fertile soil for fear to grow, and the harvest of that crop can be very detrimental on a person’s emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Fortunately, we serve a God who delights in saying to His children, “Fear not!” In the Scripture, this phrase appears 33 times, if you combine it with the phrase, “Do not fear”, it amounts to 70 times that someone in the Bible is told not to fear. The very first time “fear not” is used is in Genesis 15:1. Abram has just defeated the 5-king coalition who carried off his relative, Lot. He was blessed by Melchizedek, and then refused to take any of the spoils of the battle for himself. Then the Bible says, “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”” (Gen. 15:1). What was the antidote to fear? It was the knowledge of the character of God. In other words, “Abram, fear not because I (God) am your shield.”
I have been so impressed by our senior saints here at West Park, who recognize that God is their shield in this uncertain season, and are living out their faith in real time. Some that I have spoken to are confined at home with family members bringing groceries and supplies as needed. One family drops off the delivery in mom’s garage and leaves so they don’t run the risk of bringing her the virus. One senior brother has made his own mask with several layers of material, and is using great care as he does his own shopping. Another brother shared with me that he calls ahead to his favorite eatery close by, and drops by to pick up his meal without even having to get out of his car. So, what do these saints have in common? They have adapted to this current difficulty in various ways, but none of them are being controlled by fear. They are making wise choices and trusting God to take care of them. I could go on to tell how a nursing home has planned a day to bring a dear wife down from an upper floor so she and her husband can see each other through the glass while they talk on the phone, or how an ABF is supporting another sweet sister with phone calls to her rehab room since visits aren’t possible.
The social distancing has certainly presented challenges, but what I have seen in West Park members has encouraged me. Our deacons have had to move from visiting the sick to making phone calls, and many have been so faithful to pray for one another. We may not know what the next few weeks or months hold, but I am confident that the Lord will continue to guide us as we discover new ways to minister to one another and serve our Lord during this very unique situation.