A letter from a pastor to his congregation. (March 12, 2020)
Hello Living Word Family,
We are living in challenging times for sure. I’ve never seen such widespread panic as what is going on with the coronavirus. Albeit serious and worthy of precaution, I’ve never seen the thought of a virus be so debilitating to a nation. It certainly deserves our attention so that proper precautions can be taken, but not to the point of shutting down a nation.
Amid the hysteria that has been fanned into flames across the nation through media outlets of all types, I believe that God has a powerful and persuasive response. I will take this opportunity to write as I feel prompted tonight to help.
First, our God is capable beyond our greatest imagination. The accomplishments of Jesus’ cross and His resurrection make the “curse of the law” lose its grip on the youngest believer. His greatness should be celebrated every day by every believer. His promises and His availability to us makes our faith flourish.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And if you were wondering, the time for that promise is now!
Please stop fanning the flames of fear. A total of 365 times in your Bible, God says, “fear not”, which is one for every day of the year. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, as a matter of fact, He commands us not to. We do not have to live in anxiety and worry. Philippians 4 admonishes us not to “worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
So, how do we come out of the cycle of fear?
#1 - Shut off the voice of hysteria. If you want a fire to go out, stop putting more logs on it. Much of the time the media and the Bible are not compatible. Let’s try an experiment and take out a pen and paper and watch 15 minutes of news, Twitter and Facebook. Then write down how it made you feel. Next, spend a few moments reading Psalm 91, allowing it a moment to settle in. Write down how you feel, and I promise you that you will feel very differently.
#2 - Stop reposting the fear of the day. I’m not suggesting that we stick our heads into the proverbial sand but acknowledge that we are not “reporters” and are making things worse. In seasons when the world is suffocating with fear, it’s more important than ever that God’s people live from a posture of hope!”
#3 - Support the media that glorifies God like GODSPEED Magazine.
“As a church, we are praying for those affected and we will continue to do what we can as a church to help. We’ve learned over the years how faithful the Lord is and have seen Him move to help us. Use wisdom just as you would with the annual cold and flu.
Wisdom says, wash your hands and if you don’t feel well with a cough and temperature stay home and see your doctor. Again, use proper hygiene. If you are not feeling well send us a prayer request and remember we live-stream all our services….”
Let’s be a voice of calm and not worry. Let’s be people of faith and not fear.
In Mark 5, a man named Jairus came and asked Jesus to heal his daughter. While on the way a servant from Jairus’ house came and gave the bad news that it was already too late.
Immediately, Jesus brought hope into the heart of Jairus. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” I believe this is what Jesus is saying to us now. Don’t be afraid, only believe!
Pastor Pat Murray
Senior Pastor Living Word Church
Photo: Pat and Jackie Murray