We all wonder what life on the other side of COVID-19 will look like and are tempted to live in fear. But Scripture says perfect love drives out all fear—that when we completely surrender ourselves to God, we need not worry about tomorrow.
But what does this practically look like in the midst of a pandemic that’s challenging our sense of normal? Here are three ways to live in the fullness of God in the midst of frightening times.
1. Make room in your heart for the Holy Spirit.
“Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.” -Isaiah 40:3
This famous passage that appears in both Testaments paints a poetic picture of royal road construction. The King has announced His coming, and we’d better make way for Him. We must show this King we’re eager for His arrival in our lives.
In a season of stay-at-home, we have more time to think—more time to look inside our hearts to re-examine our priorities. God has made the machine of the world suddenly stop, and His people have the time they need to do business with Him.
I’m reminded of Abraham, a man who was called to climb a mountain and sacrifice his son. From Abraham’s perspective, this made no sense whatsoever. Not only was this child Abraham’s flesh and blood, he was also the key to the future God had promised. If the boy died, all of Abraham’s dreams would die also.
And yet God essentially told Abraham, “I want you to stop holding on to your dreams. I want you to hold on to me.”
Of course, we know God ended up providing a sacrificial ram to take Isaac’s place on the altar. A.W. Tozer imagines God saying in this moment, “It’s all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there.”
Crisis calls us to look inside and take stock asking, “What are the things I love more than God—things I don’t think I can live without?”
I believe this COVID-19 crisis is a call for all of us to look within ourselves. If we want to live in the fullness of God and not in fear, we must first remove our idols to make room in our hearts for God.
2. Make the Word your focus.
“All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field…The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.” -Isaiah 40:6,8
A humbling comparison. You and I are delicate dandelions that pop their heads up for a few months and then sink back into the ground—ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Here we see the impermanence of human success. And yet, in times of crisis when certain comforts seem to be fading around us, we’re assured the Word of God will go on blooming forever.
I don’t know about you, but my attitude has shifted since the pandemic began. In the past month, I’ve found myself more grateful for the “little things”: there is food on my table, giggling children in those chairs. I have toilet paper on every holder. What used to feel like nothing, now feels like plenty.
Seasons like this provide an opportunity for us to check our perspective on life—a shift of focus that must lead us to lean on God’s Word. This means our work will endure if it’s built on solid rock and not on sand. When we know and spread the Word of God, we’re sowing seeds that will outlast us.
I think many people are missing out on the calling of God because they’re not focused on the Word of God. They’ve lost their way because they’ve lost the Word in their life. Remember, the grass withers, but the Word of God lives forever.
3. Marvel once again at the power of God.
“See, the Lord God comes with strength, and his power establishes his rule. His wages are with him, and his reward accompanies him. He protects his flock like a shepherd…” Isaiah 40:10-11a
In this passage, Isaiah compares God to a powerful king, a wealthy benefactor, and a caring shepherd. When crisis causes us to lose hope, me must remind ourselves of these glorious qualities of God. In Him is strength, power, and authority.
The Lord is a shepherd who cares deeply for every one of His sheep. This same God has deep pockets to reward His workers, and His wages are with Him. He will pay back every person who has lived in light of Him.
And it pleases Him when we seek such heavenly treasure. The author of Hebrews writes, “the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (11:6).
The most important pursuit of my life should never be the pursuit of a career, a stage, or a salary. The most important work of my life is my personal wonder and worship of God.
We all make elaborate plans for our lives, but every once in a while, God reminds us the grass withers and the flower fades, but He is forever. In our weakness, He is strong. Our personal worship, therefore, in a season of staying home, should be shining brighter than ever. Because nothing is impossible for God.
God’s Remedy for Fear
How do we live in the fullness of God and not a state of fear? Scripture gives us at least three directives:
- Make room in your heart for the Holy Spirit by humbling yourself and confessing your idols.
- Make the ministry of the Word your focus. Build your life on the promises of God and not on something as shifting as the economy.
- Marvel once again at the power of God. By remembering who He is, you’ll feel better about where you are.
Frightening times such as what we’re experiencing through COVID-19 can shake us to the core—or they can shake us awake to our need for the Lord and our dependence on Him.
Let’s ardently pray for the Lord to bring an end to this pandemic. But as we wait, let’s also use this time to draw near to God as we surrender our lives to Him.