What Are You Truly Hearing?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God; above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Have you ever noticed the more someone tells you not to worry, the more we seem worry? In times of stress, turbulence and trials, it’s natural to worry about where our next meal will come from, how we will pay our bills or whether our loved ones will recover from illness. It’s natural to worry about unforeseen problems because, by nature, we are used to being in control of our lives. We are used to having choices. Even in our worst state, we may be able to choose which foods to buy with what little money we may have at the time or which piece of clothing to wear for the day. We can make a choice of something small such as whether to read or watch tv; to go for a walk or take a nap. But when we are put in a situation where some of these choices are taken from us and we have no control over the situation, it’s easy to feel the fear rise up within us because we are entering a territory that is unknown to us. We worry about how things are going to work out. For some, it’s only temporary, but for others, it’s a chronic problem.
At this time in our lives, we are entering into an unknown territory that we have not had to experience in our generation. We may have heard about it in other countries over the years but for us, it is new. Prior generations have had to live through different diseases and illnesses, financial crisis, etc, but now we are faced with it. Panic has been filling people on a daily basis as they run to the grocery stores to stock up for an impending total lock down. They may even stockpile things they usually don’t even purchase on a daily basis. They fear being without though in reality they won’t be without because during this crisis though we are asked to stay home, we will be allowed to go to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, to get our vehicles repaired, etc. But they aren’t hearing this and this is what fear does. It blocks our ears from hearing all of the message. What is the full message?
We need to stay home so we do not become infected with the virus or that we won’t infect anyone else. Only essential personnel are to go to work. Only essential businesses will be open which includes businesses that provide food, medicines, repairs, etc. We just have to do things a little different.
Out of that message, fear will block out the part that states we will still be able to receive food, medication, necessities and repairs and will only hear “we need to stay home…virus…infection” not to mention other worrisome things. Fear blocks the full information and only allows the negative to come through.
No matter what crises we go through in our lives, Jesus makes it clear that we must not worry because we are important to God and He knows our needs. Those who do not believe in God will worry endlessly because they truly do not know where their help will come from. But those who believe know that they have a heavenly Father who will watch over them and provide for them.
So I must ask: what do you hear when you read or hear the news? Do you hear the full message, which includes how to get through this crisis and how many are surviving it or do you only hear the negative side of it? What do you hear when you read or listen to the Word of God? Do you hear the full message, or does fear block your ears from hearing the truth and you only hear words like consequences…sinner…wrath? When we allow fear to consume our mind and heart, we prohibit ourselves from hearing the full truth. But when we take the time to read or listen to the full message, we will have a better understanding of it. When we take the time to read/listen to the full Word of God, we will understand the goodness of God, His love for us and how He provides for us in every situation. It doesn’t mean every illness and problem will bypass us because those things are a part of life, but it does mean that when we encounter problems, Jesus will be walking through it with us and we won’t be alone. He will provide for our every need because He knows what we need ahead of time.
So how do we get through this crisis?
1. With God – in a perfect world, God should be the center of all of our lives, but we do not live in a perfect world and not everyone accepts Christ as their Savior. But for those who do, walk this situation out with God just like you would any other crisis.
2. Make valuable use of your time – Make time each day to spend with God praying, reading the Bible and just talking with Him. God does hear our prayers:
The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy…” (1 Kings 9:3)
“So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” (Ezra 8:23)
Also take the time to spend with your family now that you have the time. We spend so much time staying busy that we do not take the time to slow down, enjoy our family and appreciate what we really do have.
3. Think of others – when we are fearful, depressed or lonely, this is the exact time we must reach out to others and lift them up and pray for them. Why? Because it takes the focus off of our problems and worries and puts others first. This doesn’t mean we are not allowed to have emotional days. It doesn’t mean we are less important. It means that by helping others, we will begin to feel better about ourselves because when we do good for others and help them, it makes us feel better.
“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:10-11)
When we take the time to pray, fast and think of others and help them, we will shine through the darkness surrounding us. We will become light and the darkness of the situation will begin to fade. We will bring the light of Christ to others as well. In doing this, Jesus will guide us, refresh us and restore our strength. He will provide the spiritual nourishment we need to continue on through the crisis.
4. Limit your time on social media and the news – we all need to be kept informed, but too much is overkill and can bring your spirit down causing depression, fear and hopelessness. Listen and read just enough to be kept informed of vital information, but be careful of how much you allow you and your family to hear/listen too. Fill your mind with positive things as well such as what you are thankful for. Stick to a routine which includes praying, reading the Bible, sitting or walking outside in your yard enjoying the good weather. Allow the good to come in so you have a balanced amount of information. Believe what God tells you in His Word and have faith that He will follow through with it.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
5. Follow directions – Finally, follow the directions of what both the leaders of our country are telling you to do to remain safe and healthy and what God tells you to do to remain safe and healthy. Believe it or not, we are called to respect and obey authority.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. (Romans 13:1-5)
If we are called to remain inside as much as possible (temporarily) to prevent being infected or infecting others, then we must do so. This is for our own safety. Technically, when we are sick with a normal flu or cold, most of the time we stay home and away from others when possible so we do not become sicker or spread our illness to others. There is no difference except that now it is mandatory that we do so because of the severity of the situation. We can still go outside and walk around, we just have to do so more carefully and with restrictions temporarily, but we can still reach out to others. The same goes with God. In order to be healthy spiritually, emotionally and physically, we must follow His rules for our lives and then we will have peace even in the midst of turmoil and problems. When we choose not to obey, then our lives will lack peace, good health and fulfillment.
Do not allow fear to become a stronghold upon your mind. Listen to the full message being told be it from God, our government or a family member. If fear is becoming a stronghold, then the truth and prayer is what breaks it:
“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”
God’s mercies are new every day. Take a moment today to spend time with God and talk with Him about your concerns. Journal your thoughts because this can be a great stress reliever. If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, do it now. Romans 10:9 states: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This secures that you are God’s and will bring you internal peace. Confess to Him any wrong doings in your life, repent (turn away from) the wrong doings (sin), and tell Jesus you accept Him as your Lord and Savior, that you believe God raised Him from the dead, and ask Him to come into your heart to stay. You don’t have to be perfect to come to Christ. You only have to be willing and Jesus will do the rest.