2020 began with a new global pandemic. CNN titled it a “A global coronavirus: Travel bans, face masks, and fear” — and a Citigroup analyst observed: “Fear of the virus is spreading throughout the country, at a much faster rate than the virus itself.” While the COVID-19 virus and its effects consume the headlines, the real contagion is fear. And this virus of the soul has been around much longer than COVID-19.
The fact is: Everyone’s afraid of something. A recent study listed the following ten subjects that people fear most:
1. Snakes: 51%
2. Heights: 38%
3. The dentist: 23%
4. Confined spaces, a.k.a. claustrophobia: 21%
5. Needles: 21%
6. Clowns: 18%
7. Public speaking: 17%
8. The dark: 15%
9. Flying: 14%
10. Birds: 5%”
John Adams understood the fear of contagion, declaring:
“Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.”
Faith has always been God’s antidote to fear.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful”
John 14:27 NASB
People of faith know “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). We need not fear disease, death or anything that happens to make or not make the top 10 list of fears. Instead, we should “say to those with anxious hearts, ‘Take courage, fear not’” (Isaiah 35:4 NASB) for “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB).
Without fear driving our actions, we can take rational steps to protect ourselves and our family, and do what we can to help those in need.
Renew Our Trust in God
President Abraham Lincoln understood this important principle. After the first few months of the Civil War, he reminded Congress: “Having thus chosen our course…without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear…”