by Pastor Pete Vander Beek:
We are in a time of wild and varying blame being cast about related to the pandemic, and conspiracy theories are popping up like we hope spring flowers will soon do.
Today I want to remind us all that, as was once famously said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That is true, secularly speaking, humanly speaking. For us, as people of faith, we have layers we can add to that.
Our scriptures show and teach us a healthy spiritual faith-filled way to deal with fearfulness – trust in God. You can find it in Isaiah 12:2 or Psalm 56:3&4 and many other places. Psalm 112:6-8 particularly speaks to how those who esteem God above all else (unfortunately we still use the word “fear” in many translations, even though it means more beautiful things than being fearful of God) remain unshaken, grounded, stable and less phased, less put off track by things that play on our fears. Their hearts and spirits are solid and secure within them as a result of their trust in God. And, kind of surprisingly, they remain exceedingly generous and compassionate instead of fearfully huddling and hoarding. How can they do that? Because they have faith in a God who provides, and gratitude for that exceedingly generous God, who gave the great gift of freedom to have relationship with him again through his Son.
That son, in a beautiful encouragement to a people he knew to tend to be preoccupied with “getting” said, as recorded in Luke 12 (my paraphrase of verses 29-32) “Don’t set your heart and mind on “getting”, on figuring it all out, lean into God’s “giving”, God’s generosity. The world that does not know God truly fusses over these things. Instead, soak yourself in relationship with God, trust that God knows exactly what you need and cares to provide you with that. You will find yourself less fretful about the things the rest of the world seems to fret over. Seek, look for, watch for, live by the ways of the Kingdom of God as you live your life on this earth. Because Jesus taught this, and because I love learning about the Kingdom and sharing what I learn, I plan to post a few sermons on that subject in the next few weeks.
So, when you feel fear trying to grab you, when you encounter the next blame-making information source, or the next conspiracy forwarding pal (I have two of them), remember and act accordingly. Do not buy into fear. Notice it rising in you, and choose to lean into your faith.