Peace in Times of COVID-19
As I sit here at home, physically away from many people I love, I must say it feels simply terrible. I have cycled through many emotions, as I’m sure you have. At times I have felt anxious. I am by nature a “fixer”, and I want to do more than I can to solve the situation in which we currently find ourselves. But the reality is, the only way this can be fixed is by obeying those in authority and believing God for a miracle. So, my heart has been turned heavily toward prayer. I am praying for those who are sick and severely impacted. I am praying for medical workers and first responders. I am praying for pastors and spiritual leaders, who are working hard to support those who are searching and have questions. Mostly, I am praying for students, who are missing out on so much at this important time in their lives. I am actively seeking to calm my spirit and trust in God, believing that He will demonstrate His power to the world in a supernatural way.
While I pray, the word “peace” has been coming to my mind. I pray the peace of Christ over all our hearts and minds. How do we find peace in the middle of this storm? In His Messianic prophecies, Isaiah predicted the coming of the Prince of Peace, Jesus (Isaiah 9:6). Paul tells us that through our relationship with this Prince of Peace, we can have peace with God (Romans 5:1). In Galatians, Paul also tells us that the Holy Spirit develops the fruit of peace in our lives as He indwells and guides us (Gal 5:22).
Somewhere along the way, we may have developed the mistaken notion that because we are believers, our lives should look like we are sitting on a tropical beach gazing at a beautiful sunset. In reality, Biblical peace does not guarantee the absence of trials or testing. That is not a true picture of life. As much as I enjoyed our Choralons choir tour in Hawaii several weeks ago, we must realize that the sunset is beautiful for a moment, but it passes quickly into darkness. Biblical peace is the undeniable presence of God in our lives, holding us securely through trials.
In the New Testament, Jesus and His disciples were out ministering one day. They were doing good things, fulfilling their mission and purpose. When they were done, they got in a boat and set sail for the other side of the lake. Jesus was tired and fell asleep in the back of the boat. While sleeping, a storm came up and rocked the boat severely, so much so that the disciples were sorely afraid, though several of them were experienced fishermen (Mark 4:35). Life is like that. We are doing our best, and then suddenly, a change occurs that disrupts everything. School is going great, and then a virus shuts everything down. Our church is growing, and then, COVID-19 requires us to cancel in-person services and stay home. We start a new job, and then…you get it.
Though the disciples were afraid of the storm, Jesus got up and rebuked it. He said, “Peace, be still,” and everything calmed down. I find great peace in knowing that Jesus has power over nature, and He cares about our welfare. He has more than enough grace and love for each one of us. He understands our circumstance and our anxiety, and He invites us to call on Him for help. He wants us to wake Him up with our concerns, in faith, not fear.
There will be storms in our lives; there will be things we cannot control or do not understand. Jesus wants to provide us with peace through the storms, and to bring us out on the other side stronger, more courageous, more confident in His power, and more full of faith than ever before. Don’t hesitate to wake Jesus up in faith, not fear, to be filled with His peace and receive the understanding that He is able to control the uncontrollable. In the book of John, Jesus reminds us that “these things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Lord, today I need Your peace to come over me. I need Your Spirit to be present in my life despite circumstances that are completely out of my control. I need the Shalom of God to be present amid the craziness of our world. Help me to rest in Your Word and Your promises today. Amen.