Since the Covid-19 virus impacted Asia long before the rest of the world, we’ve been living under various restrictions here in Singapore for over a month now. It’s given me some time to reflect on life, death, and seeking a greater faith in God.
The fact is, apart from the second coming of Jesus Christ, we will all die someday. The only question is, how and when? As Christians, we really shouldn’t fear death, although most of do if we’re honest. And I confess, I am by nature a fearful person. Although I became a Christian very early in life, some of my earliest childhood memories included the (irrational) fear that I would get sick and die young of some terrible disease. I suppose it didn’t help watching movies like, “The Andromeda Strain,” and “The Omega Man,” but I always found it difficult to release these fears and trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God.
I take some comfort in the fact that fear is nothing new, and the Bible talks a lot about it. The simple but profound phrases, “do not be afraid” and “fear not,” are found 67 times in the ESV translation of the Bible. In Matthew 6:25-34 alone, Jesus mentions anxiety six times. Closely related positive variations on this theme (“trust/hope in God”) occur numerous additional times as well. It would seem that all human beings, Christians included, are incredibly prone to fear and need to learn (and constantly relearn) to trust in God’s wisdom and goodness.
With the recent pandemic, it’s incredibly tempting to let anxiety and fear strangle our faith in God. Surprisingly, I have been experiencing a profound sense of peace in the midst of all the clamor. In many ways, I am more concerned about the inconveniences of widespread and long-term lockdowns and shortages than I am about death. After all, death for those in Christ merely means experiencing true life forever in the presence of God! Why in the world would I fear that kind of everlasting hope and joy? In the words of the Apostle Paul, “that is far better” (Philippians 1:23)! In the meantime, however, all of us must continue to struggle to trust God through the vicissitudes—and viruses—of life.
How do we do that? The answer is neither hidden nor profound. We ask Him for His grace to live in faith when it’s much more natural to live in fear. We let the peace of Christ reign in us when panic tries to take over and push Him from the center of our hearts. And we offer our lives as living sacrifices for God’s glory so that whether in life or in death, our lives remain safely held within His wise and loving hands.