Earlier this week, I noticed something under my kitchen chair. At first I thought it was the leather tie off my journal, but then it moved.
“What is that?” I asked my husband, Melvin.
“Isn’t it the tie from your journal?”
“That’s what I thought, but it just moved.”
Looking closer, we realized it was a very small, slow moving snake. On the outside I appeared calm, but the cartoon thought bubble above my head read: “SNAKE!”
“Uh, are you going to get that?” I asked Mel. He didn’t answer so I grabbed his metal grabber. It was too big for the job. Now if the snake had been a bull snake, it would have worked.
Mel opened up a drawer that housed some small tongs. “Grab the head,” he said helpfully. Reciting Bible verses, I grabbed the snake. He came to wiggly life. I took him outside and set him free. Or rather, free from me.
The whole thing probably took less than five minutes.
Mel was impressed with my bravery. He doubted that I’d actually pick up the snake. I’ll admit it’s out of the ordinary for me. And yet, fear left me as I began reciting Bible verses like: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-2).
A big verse for a small snake. And yet, God tells us to call on him in times of trouble and he will rescue us and we will honor him (Psalm 50:15). I give the Lord the honor. The snake was small, but initially my fear was not.
The same works for the coronavirus. There’s a lot of fear in this country. Fear of getting sick. Fear of someone we love getting sick. Fear of not having food on the shelves to buy. Fear of not having enough money to pay bills. Fear of running out of toilet paper.
Real fears. Yet, we need to keep calm, and pray. It’s been the answer throughout the history of mankind. Three years ago, Mel and I were at our own homes reading our morning devotions. We’d been praying about getting married, but I had some fears. When I read Joshua 1:9 that morning, I felt God speaking to me. So did Mel. He came to my house, proposed to me, and I said “Yes.” The fear left me.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
In Joshua chapter one, Moses is dead. The Lord tells Joshua that he’s in charge now. He needs to go over to the land the Lord has promised the people of Israel. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given you, as I said to Moses” (Joshua 1:2).
The Lord encourages Joshua and reassures him there’s no reason to fear. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to the law which Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).
With God on his side, Joshua cannot fail. With God on his side, there’s no reason to fear. It’s the same for us Christians. We know that the One who created this world and everything and everyone in it, is still on the throne. He’s still in charge. We need not be afraid.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and your buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in darkness … A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you … Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you … For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways’” (Psalm 51:1-11).
Keep calm, and pray, standing on the promises of the Bible. If you don’t know what those promises are, ask someone. Or better yet, read them for yourself. Turn off the TV. Don’t feed fear. Instead, feed on the Word of God, the Good News.
God the Father sent His only son, Jesus, to earth to be our sacrifice for our sins. Jesus died on the cross for each of us. He was buried. On the third day He rose from the dead. He’s in heaven preparing a place for all who believe. He left the Holy Spirit to be with us as our comforter and our guide.
Keep calm, and pray.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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