Panic or Peace

I saw something last Sunday that I’ve never seen in 35 years of ministry. I was working outside with our parking team when a helicopter appeared over the church property. Mesmerized by this unusual sight, I watched with awe as the pilot skillfully landed that helicopter in our church parking lot. I got on the radio to our parking team and said, “Well guys, we just had our first helicopter landing at Lanier Christian Church. An historic moment!” A few minutes later the pilot’s family emerged from our building and they lifted off. It was a sight to behold. It just goes to show you that if you miss a Sunday at LCC, you miss a lot. 

Another thing I noticed about the helicopter landing last Sunday was that no one panicked. The parking team didn’t panic. The security team didn’t panic. I’m told that even our children who saw it through the windows of the building didn’t panic. How do you respond when something unusual happens? What is your reaction to sudden troubling events? We are witnessing a world in panic over the coronavirus right now. We have heard about people buying up surgical masks and toilet paper. I even saw a picture of dogs wearing masks to protect them from the virus. While this is a serious and even potentially cataclysmic event, God’s people are to be the calm in the midst of this fearful storm. 

Jesus told us that troubling, even fearful times will come. Listen to His words:

“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33).

Jesus describes here a time of panic among the disciples, a time when he was abandoned. But, He wasn’t alone. The Father was with Him. If He was with Jesus during this time, He is with us now as we face troubles in the world. Perhaps you’re facing a different kind of trouble today. Perhaps your trouble is a health challenge. The Father is with you. Maybe you’re facing financial difficulty. The Father is with you. Possibly you’re dealing with a strained or broken relationship. The Father is with you. He is with you no matter what troubles you face. He will never leave you alone. Take comfort in knowing that today!

So what do we do in the midst of the coronavirus? Take the precautions the medical community is advising. Wash your hands. Don’t get out if you’re feeling sick. That’s good advice. As believers, we can do so much more, however. We can be the example of calm when others are in panic. We can and should pray about the situation, but we can also provide care for those who are sick and feeling alone. What do I mean by that? Let me give you an historical example. 

In the 14th century, the Bubonic Plague was raging across Europe. Also called “the Black Death,” it lasted for seven years and killed millions. It almost singlehandedly wiped out the Catholic priesthood during this time. Do you know why? Because the priests administered aid and cared for those stricken by this pandemic. Knowing the risks, they provided calm, hope and care to those were suffering. Many died from being exposed to those who were sick. 

Now, I’m not suggesting that we foolheartedly expose ourselves to the coronavirus, but I am saying that God’s people are called to care for those who are sick, hurting and downtrodden in times of trouble. We honor God when we do that. We glorify Him when we do that. We also honor and glorify Him when we refuse to panic and instead claim the peace He offers. Jesus has “overcome the world.” That’s worth remembering the next time we are tempted to stock up on toilet paper and surgical masks, or the next time we see a helicopter land in the church parking lot.

Because He has overcome the world,