In the Stillness

Are you feeling fearful today? You are not alone.

I know a lot of people are very anxious right now regarding the COVID-19, or Coronavirus. My daughter is on the other side of the country as I write this. She will be safely home again in ten days, but still, I worry about her return flight, the crowded airport, and a bunch of worst case scenarios playing out in my imagination. I also have several friends whose loved ones are traveling internationally, bringing their families a whole new level of concerns.

How do we remain calm amidst all the chaos — even as we try to go about our normal lives? And how do we discern fact from fiction? The disinformation being spread through rumors and social media only feeds our fears. The chatter has become overwhelming.

Let’s all take a breath.

Turn off the noise. Be still . . . and just . . . listen.

God’s Calming Voice

It’s time to quiet our hearts and seek the calming peace and stillness found only in the Lord’s presence.

I’d like to share some of my favorite Scripture verses that always help calm my fears when I am feeling frightened or anxious. You may wish to write them down and carry them with you as daily reminders of God’s ever-present love.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” — II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” — Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ — Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” — Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬

If your children are feeling anxious too, you may wish to share these simple verses with them. Let them know that God hears their prayers and is always nearby to offer His comfort, any time of the day or night.

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” — Psalms‬ ‭56:3‬

“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.” — Psalms‬ ‭34:4‬

Always remember: there is no problem too great for God to handle. Trust that He is in control through this challenging time. Remember often to stop and listen for His voice, and know that you rest in the palm of His hand.

Love in Action

Writing this blog each week can sometimes be a challenge, but I love writing and scheduling this time is a necessary discipline. It helps me to ponder what is important in life, and what I might in turn share with you.

During my morning devotion time, I usually check my YouVersion Bible app to read the verse of the day. Today’s verse was, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans‬ ‭12:12‬) As I often do, I decided to continue on and read the entire chapter of Romans 12.

Throughout this chapter, we find guidance on how to love one another deeply and intentionally. Even our enemies! This isn’t just “old school” or ancient teaching. Although I’ve read this chapter many times, this morning I was struck by how  badly we need these instructions today.

In the NIV translation, verses 9-21 are entitled “Love in Action”.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:9-21‬

That is a lot to take in, but oh, my! If we could embrace these instructions as we go about our daily lives, think how this world could be changed.

How will you put love into action this week?