FAITH OR FEAR
In the wake of the deadly COVID 19 virus, the stand and understanding of believers have been put to test. Some have viewed it as God’s punishment to the world due to increased wickedness. Nevertheless, the pestilence has clearly put on toes the hopeful and the hopeless.
English dictionary defines faith as ‘the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony’. Hebrews 11:1; now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Fear is defined as ‘a painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of impending danger apprehension; anxiety; solitude; alarm dread’.
Since its outbreak thousands of deaths have been reported, cutting across different ages, gender, race, social class as well as believers and unbelievers. Some believe they will remain unscathed to tell tales of a once deadly virus that swept across the globe. But, what if you will not survive? What if your loved ones are swept along? What if it is here to stay? What if we lose control over it? With church physical fellowships brought to stand still, and now turning to online services what if we will not have the opportunity to meet again? It is essential for us to obey the regulations and guidelines issued as law-abiding citizens heeding to the Biblical call upon believers to respect those in authority. But if containment of the virus fails and things turn from bad to worse, do we have hope?
Paul’s letter to the believers in the Macedonia City of Philippi, though imprisoned, he with no fear or doubt shared his desire; – If I am to go on living in the body, this will be fruitful labor for me… I desire to be with Christ which is better by far (Philippians 1:22). At this point and time, Paul had planted many churches as he preached the gospel, enduring and paying great costs for proclaiming the work of Christ on the cross. Yet his zeal was not cowered by death. He points out in 2nd Corinthians 5:1;- for we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Cognizant of the temporal nature of our earthly bodies, he focused on more than the decaying flesh in full assurance of life far much better, with no regrets at all.
Having boldly endured the suffering for the gospel and preaching of the good news, unlike most believers, Paul is counting it gain to die so he can be with Christ and if he lives, he does so to continue spreading the gospel. Ironically, Christians today are battling to remain alive to poster their ‘individual goals’;- have a partner (couple), children of their own, lavish lifestyles, remain around with friends, own fancy apartments among others. Important as they may be for our well-being here on earth, we forget to invest in heaven (OUR HOME); – Mathew 6:19-20.
The media has ‘overfed’ us with reports and updates on corona virus’ deaths and infections leading us to think that that is the only way we are dying. As some are dying due to the virus, many more are dying due to different cases. Amidst all, whether we die of COVID 19 or something else are we ready to die as Paul was? In this wake of fear of death and uncertainty of life, we are encouraged by God’s word in 1st Thessalonians 5:9-10; for God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. As Christians, in the face of a pandemic or in the absence of it; in death or life; our trust should be in Christ whom God gave us so we can have life in fullness and life in eternity. If Christ tallies, diseases, and pandemics such as this will come and go, some will remain like HIV. The Big Question remains; when He returns as He promised, will we be part of those who will rejoice? Or shall we be grumbling and regretting that if we would be given a chance, we would make our ways right with Him?
Amidst the strife we should unite in faith; in prayer and in hope rather than consumed in and by fear. It is paramount we realize that those who have succumbed are both believers and non-believers. ‘Now there were some present at time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood pirate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will also perish – Luke 13:1-3’.
Thus the yearning to live for God should not be limited to Christian gatherings, distorted faces in worship-time, or in serving to get human-eye attention. If we live for God daily in our routines, then, when danger lurks and our lives are threatened, and hope seems forlorn. We will rest in the assurance that being home is a gain. Therefore as a soldier remains ready and steadfast every moment that passes, let’s remain steadfast in hope through our faith in Christ Jesus rather than fear. May our God through Christ and the Holy Spirit keep us faithful to the very end.