Do not be anxious about anything.
Saint Paul wrote the above words to the Philippians (4:6). These are important words for us in the face of growing anxiety, fear and panic as we learn more about the coronavirus spreading throughout the United States. This week (March 1-7) we have learned that financial markets have plummeted; airlines and cruise lines are at risk; sports events have been curtailed; large conventions and music venues have been cancelled; people cannot find hand sanitizers on empty shelves due to panic buying; and there are many more signs of fear and anxiety.
On the other hand, millions are washing their hands more frequently, cleaning surfaces diligently, and practicing greater hygiene. Children and adults are doing “fist bumps” or “elbow bumps” instead of shaking hands or hugging their friends. Also, media reports say the CDC and other private and public laboratories are creating test kits for doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities.
“Do not be anxious about anything.” But it is hard not to be anxious when news broadcasts lead with updates on the virus and its national and international impacts. Yet Saint Paul also adds, “but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” St. Paul knew dangers and trials in his own life, and he took his concerns before God.
To the Corinthians he wrote: “…three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked; I spent a night and a day in the open sea.” (2 Corinthians 11:25)
Saint Paul presented his requests to God. He urges us to do the same. He knew he was in God’s hands, no matter what he encountered.
The Governor of Washington urged the citizens of his state to remain calm even as the outbreak of the virus snuffed out the lives of elderly citizens in his state. The Mayor of New York City told his citizens to remain calm and use their heads instead of their emotions as they continue to struggle forward in the fight against the outbreak.
In Christ we wrap ourselves in the assurance of God’s Son that whatever befalls us we know we can count on God’s deliverance and salvation in this life and in the life to come. In the death of Jesus and our belief in His resurrection we can say with Saint Paul that we can be content with whatever happens.
Saint Paul wrote these words, “In my frequent journeys I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles; in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers. In labor and toil and without sleep; in hunger and thirst and often without food; in the cold and exposure, and from these external trials, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:26-28)
“Do not be anxious about anything.” God will be with us. We can count on His promises. Remain calm and pray for first responders, medical workers, and all of those touched by this crisis.
One Minute is written by Rev. Ron Rehrer, Counselor for
Church Workers; phone 949.433.5182; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For church & school coronavirus resources visit psd-lcms.org/coronavirus