scriptures for peace

Finding Peace During the Coronavirus Fear

Last night I received a message that the school where I teach will be closed for the next two weeks due to the danger of the coronavirus. I don’t mind an earlier spring break, but I know the measures against this pandemic has taken many of us by surprise. We really didn’t think it would get this serious. Just a few weeks ago it seemed so far away, didn’t it?

Now it’s here in the states, and with the virus has come an unprecedented response by government officials. Sports contests, weddings, festivals, concerts, all large gatherings have been shut down. Just. Like. That. This includes our gatherings to worship.

Now churches all over the world are told not to meet. Mattia Ferraresi wrote in the New York Times,

In an unprecedented step, Saudi Arabia suspended pilgrimages to the holy sites of Islam. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was closed after a coronavirus case was confirmed in the area.” 

God vs. Coronavirus

So, this virus and the mandates from governments isn’t only affecting American Christian faith, but all faiths all over the world. Isn’t that amazing? There’s no doubt in my mind that the prince of darkness is behind this virus and the fear that’s come with it. It might be able to stop us from meeting in large gatherings, but the coronovirus cannot stop our faith or our hope.

It is a sobering time. But it’s not the end. I believe this could actually be the beginning of many good things. Certainly, even though we’ve been advised to steer from large crowds, we haven’t been restricted from checking on our neighbors and opening our homes as places of worship and peace.

Peace Amidst the Pandemic

If this virus stirs fear in you, I want to encourage you to pray for peace. Take a deep breath and pray for God’s tangible peace. I love this quote from the late Billy Graham, a man I consider a prophet in our time:

“We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving.  We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud.  We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We are to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient.”

The Power of Prayer

So many times we pray for safety and healing, which are very important prayers, but perhaps the greatest miracle in the midst of this fearful time is peace. Have you experienced the peace that passes all understanding? Paul told believers a long time ago:

don't be anxious

Be Thankful

Dispel fear with thankfulness in your prayers. Our God has been faithful, he is faithful and he will be faithful. Grab a journal and write down all the times he proved his faithfulness in your life when you were afraid. Then write down your fears you hold today. When I ink my worries down, I can shut the book, set it aside, and give it to God. He has them.

Pray, be thankful, check on your neighbors, and meditate on God’s Word. If fear wakes you up at night. Turn on the light, grab your Bible and turn to Psalm 91. This is one of the most wonderful psalms to pray when life and peace are threatened.

Powerful Peace in Psalm 91

Read it out loud.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91

Hide Under His Wings

How do we hide under God’s wings? How do we come to this place of assurance and protection? The answer lies in the word “find refuge.” I’ve written many posts on this beautiful truth.

The words “find refuge” have been translated from the Hebrew word Hasah. As you read the definition of Hasah, notice the different meanings:


to flee (for protection), seek refuge; to trust in, confide in, hope in…this word is often used in the figurative sense of seeking spiritual refuge and putting trust in God. (Key-Word, NIV 1517)

I love the imagery of seeking refuge under God’s wings, but this beautiful picture meets reality with the definition, “putting trust in God.”

Finding Refuge

My friends, it all goes back to believing, trusting the goodness of God. At times like this people ask how a good God can allow such suffering? But my answer to that question lies in words spoken by Jesus:

waves peace

He is a God of peace in the midst of trouble who promises never to leave us or forsake us. He promises to be with us in the fire, the battle, the disease, and the storm. As the song says, “The waves and wind still know His name.” Don’t forget. He is still God, and He is good.

Bite of Bread Reading Plan

This week we will battle fear, doubts of God’s goodness, and lack of trust as we climb under the wings of a God who is mighty to save. A God who loves you more than you can fathom, and who really does know the number of hairs on your head.

(Grab the Free Printable)

Psalm 91:1-2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Prompt: Where are you living today? Are you constantly listening, watching, or reading the news? Are you addicted to social media? Put it down. Fast from your social media and news outlet today and replace it with worship and study of Psalm 91.

Psalm 91: 5

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Prompt: His faithfulness will be your shield. Write down all the times God has been faithful to you in times of fear and worry. Then write a prayer thanking Him and asking for greater trust.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Prompt: The word “commanded” can also mean “appointed.” God is not surprised by where you are during such a time as this. Take great assurance that He is with you, and He wants to use you in the middle of this battle. Who will you encourage today with the hope of Jesus?

Matthew 8:26

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Prompt: Despite their fear and lack of faith, He calmed the storm. Ask yourself why you are afraid. How can God take your greatest fear and be God is the middle of it?

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Prompt: Journal your thankfulness and your fears. Pray for your neighbors here and around the world. Ask God to use you mightily in this time of trial and fear. Ask to be a vessel of peace everywhere you go.

(Grab the Free Printable)

Wednesday Night Virtual Bible Study

Join me Wednesday night via Facebook Live! Simply follow me on FB and meet me on my timeline at 7:30 PM ET. I’ll have my cup of tea and stretchy pants on!

Finally, if you need more encouragement during the wait for this virus to disappear, or fighting fear, or feeling lonely during this time of isolating from our large fellowships, my posts the last few weeks address those issues. Check them out!

May the God of peace flood your heart and mind as you trust His goodness. He is with us. May He be glorified in this crazy time. Please leave a comment for prayer or anything God has given you to get through this difficult time.

Digging Deep in Peace,

Andy

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