Brothers do not panic. I see the intense anxiety in people’s eyes as they envision a world without order. I hear the chaotic tone in my friend’s voice. Internal panic, anxiety and the loss of joy are spreading like COVID-19. The grocery store is full of empty shelves, jobs are being lost and the nearest warm body is always 6 feet away. How can we have peace and joy in the midst of managed viral chaos?
[Rom 15:13 NIV] 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peace and Joy
Peace and Joy are the result of trust in a good God. Trust means I do not determine God’s goodness or badness by my circumstances or experiences. God is good all the time, even during quarantine and when family members are sick and especially when the last square of toilet paper is flushed.
People will doubt my God if I do. Peace and joy display my belief in a trustworthy God. Anxiety and panic do not display a trustworthy God. God has life in abundance, and he has given it through Jesus’ sacrifice. He is the One that vivifies dust with his breath. Jesus is “the resurrection and the life”.
God’s peace is miraculous because it surpasses all understanding. Throw me into a Lion’s den of viral public panic and I can feel God’s peace, because I will exit with life. Peace either through physical life or spiritual life, but never through absolute death. The lion’s den had no affect on Daniel’s life and COVID-19 will have no affect on your’s.
[Phl 4:6-7 NIV] 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
COVID-19 presents an opportunity. An opportunity to display joy and peace when no one else can. Help people, play games and make the most out of your situation. If you are with your family, turn the floor into lava, then do a devotional and deeply hug them before naps. Show your family and friends Jesus’ peace in your life.
In Mark 4, Jesus was found asleep in the stern of the ship during a major storm. I never understood this peace until I closed my eyes the last time before my heart surgery. In that moment I had to choose between anxiety and fear or giving my trust and hope and family to God. Since that moment I’ve been living in the remainder. I gave all I have to him and what is left is my remainder, my life after life. It is my gift.
Every minute of your life is either your gift or your god and the perceived origin of each minute will determine how you choose to live them. Take the opportunity and live in the remainder.
[Mar 4:38 NIV] 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Dear Father, the universe sings and the river claps for your glory. Peace and joy are the emblems of life found in Jesus. Pain and death may be near, but may we sing hymns and songs of Your living hope. Let us rest under the rock of your strength. May your name be praised forever and ever. Amen
In Peace Brothers, JP