The news media yesterday evening were dominated by the effects of the world-wide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which the Centers for Disease Control has now designated a global pandemic. Meanwhile, although seldom mentioned, during the 2019-2020 influenza season, there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses in the United States, resulting so far in some 250,000 hospitalizations and at least 14,000 deaths. Rampant fear has gripped the nation, causing runs on hand sanitizer and other supplies that have stripped store shelves bare. Public gatherings, such as parades, sporting events and even political rallies, have been cancelled or postponed. The NBA even cancelled the remainder of its season after one player was diagnosed with COVID-19. Workers are being told to work from home where possible or just not to report to work at all. Public and private schools, including some universities, are instructing students not to return to campus following their spring break, are cancelling on-campus classes and making arrangement for students to pursue their studies on-line. Stock markets continue to plunge precipitously deep into bear territory.
President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office in the White House later in the evening, announcing further travel restrictions, urging us not to panic, and attempting to assure us that all necessary steps were being taken to control the spread of the virus and to mitigate the economic impact on companies and individuals. However, following his remarks, most commentators opined that these had caused more confusion and concern than comfort. It seems as if the world as we know it is falling to pieces all around us.
And so, before I went to bed yesterday evening, I prayed: “Lord, what do you want me to do now?”
Then around midnight God awakened me to reassure me I had nothing to fear and that he had everything under control. He reminded me of some of his promises, such as:
Because I dwell in the shelter of the Most High, I can rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I can say “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Since he will cover me with his wings and provide me refuge, I need not fear pestilence and plague. Since I say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and make the Most High my dwelling, no harm will overtake me, nor disaster come near me. (Psalm 91)
And I need not fear the collapse of the country’s economic system because “my God will meet all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
And because God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble, I will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:1,2)
Since I was wide awake now, I pondered these things as I sipped a glass of wine. Then I went back to bed and slept soundly until morning.
The last thing God said to me was “Comfort my people.” So I am writing this to remind you that if you put your trust in God you have absolutely nothing to fear.