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Faith & Insight: Courage is not absent fear

By Nick Emery

With the rapid changes regarding COVID-19, our normal way of life is being heavily impacted. I do not think it is too alarming to say that this is a time of crisis for people. So, whether you believe it to be real, or merely an overreaction, the point is that many are wondering what is going on and what will happen.

When fear rears its ugly face in our lives, its purpose is to derail us and perhaps even to destroy us, but that moment is actually a call for courage. Godly courage is not absent fear, rather it abides in the hope and security of knowing Jesus is sovereign even in our pain and loss and greatest worry.

And logically, it makes sense that a response to COVID-19 and its spread, that it would cause fear or worry. Details change every day. People are dealing with sickness and economic hardship and all of that can breed within us fear.

Pastor Matt Chandler said that “You don’t get courage from looking deep within yourself. It doesn’t come from being mad at the world or from keeping your head down in the world. It comes from experiencing God.”

As the church, as Disciples of Christ, we have a living hope in God. Apart from him, from knowing him, loving him, serving, growing in your knowledge of his holy word, there is not hope, and yes, fear will abound. But, as Christ followers we have a living hope and we can be courageous for God, as we confront our own fear and uncertainty during the extremely difficult and unprecedented times we are in.

Tom White, who worked with Voice of the Martyrs, wrote: “The badge of courage does not require that we walk through something dangerous. It simply requires that we continue to share God’s love whenever and wherever we are.”

Now is the time for the church and each disciple of Christ to lean into our secure hope in God and take that and share it within our community and beyond. Now is the time for us to serve others well – even though it will need to be in unique and healthy ways, but we must be a light of God’s love and mercy during the coming days, just as we have been in the past. Do not be afraid. Love your neighbor, your coworkers, friends and those you have yet to meet in our community.

I was reading through Philippians 4 recently, and verse 9 says: “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

So friends, now is the time to put into practice what all we have learned from the Lord, and although it will be in ways we have perhaps have yet to serve and love others with, it can be done by God’s strength and wisdom and then God, who makes everything work together, will be glorified.

May we act not in fear, but in the hope of joining in the efforts to lessen the potential weight of this impact with COVID-19 on our community and shine brightly for the glory of the Lord. May when respond to our own fears by courageously stepping out in the hope we have and care for and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we act in the confidence we have that God is with us and that he will sustain us. And may we, as Micah 7:7 prays: “watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.”

Nick Emery is Lead Pastor of Hope Crossing Community Church.