“Don’t panic” seems to be the right message for beleagured, stressed Christians. In this pandemic world there always seems to be another thing coming around the corner at us. But the big message for Christians is “don’t panic.” Panic, in whatever form it comes, knocks us off course, refocuses our attention, and redirects our energy. This is clearly not a good strategy in the life of faith-in-God.
You’re in good company if you feel stressed and fearful. Elijah is a great example of what happens when stress and fear take over. In 1 Kings 18 we hear the story of Elijah’s stress, beginning with the story of his “contest” with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. The contest proved that God is greater than Baal, totally humiliating the prophets of Baal. When Jezebel, wife of King Ahab, found out about what happened on Mount Carmel, she promised to have Elijah killed by the next day.
At that news, Elijah fled into the wilderness where he found a tree under which he collapsed and prayed for death to come to him. An angel came to Elijah with food and basically said, “Quit whining and get on with your life.” [Not exactly what the angel said, but that was the implication of it.] This is an encouraging moment for Elijah because God told him that there were 7,000 people who had not betrayed God and given into Baal. It’s what Elijah needed to hear.
It is a good message for us today. We don’t have Jezebel chasing us, but we do have Covid and politics and other social woes. It would be easy to quit, but we know what God would say to us. Don’t we?
Here are some concrete things that LifeSpringers can do to get us through this time.
- Pray, of course. Don’t pray a wimpy prayer, “O God please put a hedge of protection around us. We’re too scared and faithless to face life.” Rather, pray for strength and determination. Pray for steadfast love. Pray for enduring faith. That’s what real Christians pray.
- Throw your LifeSpring weight into helping us get through this season. Think about how we can respond appropriately to this challenge without dumbing it down. A courageous response is what we must have. We need your good ideas.
- Think about how we can use Zoom to bless LifeSpring. It’d be so good to hear you say, “Zoom is a lifesaver in this moment. Not as good as in-person but waaaay better than nothing. I’ll be there and you can count on me.”
This is not meant to be awfulizing. It’s not. We do have to be proactive though. We have to lean into the challenge, not retreat from it. The fact that Rich got sick and will be gone next week, makes me keenly aware of how much we have to learn the lesson of planning, proactive action, and love of God’s kingdom, no matter what! We have to know, ahead of the curve, what we will do, rather than merely reacting to it.
So remember Elijah. Don’t be discouraged by the stress of the time, but look for the ways that God opens doors for us! This will pull us through the age of Covid.