As much as we would like to believe we are fearless, the simple fact is that none of us are. Nor should we be. Fear is a natural reaction to potential danger. The issue is how we react. Bravery is not the absence of fear, but rather a response, a choice on how to deal with the danger. We can make other choices. We can choose to become consumed by fear and fall into panic or we can choose to disregard the fear and so succumb to the danger that evoked it.
Christ, however, tells us we have overcome fear. Not through stupid ignorance nor through blind panic, but because Christ replaces our fear with peace.
How is that possible? The dangers of the world are not removed, we and they are still here. Rather we come to a place of faith where we can say that no matter what happens we will seek the Lord’s Will and trust in that. That is the peace that replaces fear.
So, we are in the midst of a pandemic. How do we respond? Neither by dismissal nor hysterics. This is a real thing that is actually effecting people, and to make little of it denies their suffering. To make to much is to embrace fear and relinquish our peace.
Instead we identify our fear, identify our reaction to possible danger, and pray for peace and wisdom. Peace lets us let go of anxiety and pain in the face of danger, wisdom lets us proceed to meet it.
On a practical level these means that Fort Wayne Baptist Church awaits confirmation of a case in Allen County, which is going to come any day given the spread to our part of the state. Once given we will cancel all small group events – no Sunday School, no Wednesday Nights, no Prayer Group, no GGG – but we will continue to meet for worship and take appropriate precautions, including suspending communion. If the officials recommend more drastic measures, such as canceling worship services, we will do so. In anticipation of that I am looking into options, including recording videos of sermons or Bible studies from home.
Remember, nothing has so far afflicted us that is not common to the human experience. This is not a “sign” nor should we expect that God will respond in anyway other than he has in the past. The virus will run its course and humans will try to deal with it.
Our enemy is not the virus, it is over reaction and under reaction. For that I will echo the words of Jesus:
“This kind only comes out through prayer.”