I was talking with a friend recently who was weathering a job change and was dripping with anxiety and fear. “What’s wrong with me?” he asked. “Why am I so freaked out?”
The reality is that fear and anxiety are warning lights signaling uncertainty and that something may be wrong. We can’t stop them, we just need to figure out their origins and what to do with them. But when they control us, we must push past them and into faith.
This week I need this same medicine when I think about COVID-19 and my 65-year-old wife who is dangerously susceptible to respiratory problems.
The cultural sirens call us to hide and hoard — and that is as infectious as the disease! But “Do not fear!” is the most often quoted command of Jesus. We have an amazing Holy Spirit power to push through fear and demonstrate the Kingdom as we believe and act like the gospel is true.
And the Kingdom calls us to more than just find personal contentment in the midst of fear and anxiety. Jesus calls followers to demonstrate faith: help and house the vulnerable, care for the sick, find the lonely and frightened and help them, show up and give our lives away, lay them down and “do not fear.”
So, one idea to demonstrate faith is to watch for those who Jesus wants you to care for. Then push through the fear and keep in step with the Spirit work in this moment in our culture.
“How do I do that?” is a good question. One old African American pastor told me to, “Read yourself full, think yourself clear, pray yourself hot, and then let go!” That’s good for me. We are still on mission no matter our circumstances.