Doctors say that a certain level of fear is healthy and helpful to us to avoid accidents. A healthy level helps us to avoid driving too fast to avoid collisions; helps us to lock our doors at night to prevent intrusions and so on.
But what happens when fear and anxiety consume our days, each day or multiple times a day? These levels of fear and anxiety can be debilitating. Some may find themselves checking and rechecking doorknobs up to 10 or more times to make certain they are locked, some may find themselves not going out at all to avoid driving altogether.
In this time of worldwide pandemic, people have learned to cope in many ways.
A cavalier approach gives people a sense of control. Why take precautions at all if they believe harm will not come their way or affect them as it purportedly affects others? This approach is fraught with danger. A person might not suffer but may pass along the disease to another who could. It boils down to a game of Russian roulette.
A paranoid approach gives people a sense of safety. Every doorknob is cleaned upwards of 3 or 4 times. Hands are washed for 1 minute instead of 20 seconds. Every grocery item is dropped off and rinsed. Every social occasion is avoided. But this approach may affect employment if the person is required to work in-person instead of remotely. It can also affect mental wellness and can lead to isolation and depression.
Where is that middle ground, is there a middle ground? For example, for two working spouses, does one spouse give up employment to teach a child or children remotely? There is guilt in giving up wages and guilt in sending off children to school where they might be potentially exposed to the virus.
There are no clear and right answers. We have never faced an on-going, unresolved danger that cannot be resolved with a peace treaty and ceasefire. The war is against a life-threatening, invisible pathogen.
Our answer is and has always been trusting in God. Our life and health are securely in His hands. As one pastor has put it: when we close our eyes and breathe our last breath on this side of eternity, we open our eyes and take in our first, deep breath of eternal life in His presence. This is not a coping technique, but rather a foundational truth on which we meditate and train our minds.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8, NLT)
Knowing and believing that He has our best in His mind and His heart will help us as we ask Him what is best for our specific situation and family and employment. Let us turn to Him and ask Him the questions for which we have no answers. Let us let Him guide us through these unprecedented times. He is our Shepherd and has plans for our good, our future, not to harm us but to give us a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
By: Rebeca Richmond, Modern Day Missions CFO