I was born in the midst of the Vietnam War and witnessed daily reports of its horrors until it finally ended in 1975. I was 14-years-old and I was an only child; a lot of my friends lost brothers and other family members in that war. Over a million people died; 58,148 were U.S. soldiers. Another 75,000 were severely disabled, 23,214 were 100% disabled, 5,283 lost limbs, and 1,081 sustained multiple amputations. 11,465 of those killed were under the age of 20 years old. It was a scary time.
|U.S. Soldier - Vietnam War (1955-1975)|
On the homefront during the 60's and on into the 70's, in addition to daily news coverage of the war, we had civil unrest on every front...war protesters, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Black Power, race riots, black against white, white against black, police and members of the National Guard swarming our streets with guns and teargas in attempt to keep the peace. It was a scary time.
|Race Riots in Kansas City, Missouri - 1968|
Photo Credit and Video
I grew up in fear. In fear of everything...literally!
In addition to the daily 24-hour-a-day fear of the effects of war and civil unrest, there was unrest in the extended family and that often ended up being brought to our doorstep and spilling over into my world. My mom and dad always put an end to it, but, it sure got scary when they were dealing with drunken relatives and the myriad of colorful behavior that accompanied them...crying, cursing, brawls in the middle of the livingroom floor, threats made with a drawn switchblade knife, and the windshield of my aunt's car being busted out by the kicking cowboy boots of the drunk that was sitting on top of her car. It was a scary time.
Then, there was the fear of every other possible thing...heights, water, dreams, ghosts, demons, the end of the world...you name it and I was afraid of it. I lived in constant fear. But, at the time, I didn't know that there was any other way to live. I had lived with fear, day-in and day-out my entire life. Sadly, fear was my closest companion and I lived with it well into my 30's...maybe even into my early 40's. BUT, at some point in there (late 90's...early 2000's), I came to the realization of the truth...fear only has as much power as I give it!
I met Jesus at the alter of an old, country church when I was 7-years-old and I clung to Him daily during the worst times of my life...even when I wasn't living (didn't know the first thing about how to live) for Him at all. In the worst and most frightening times of my life, I slept with my Bible under my pillow and drew upon scriptures that I had memorized as a child. That's all I knew to do and, at the time, God met me where I was, and I was comforted.
In later years...after learning from teachers and preachers that point you to the Word of God instead of their own opinions or church doctrine, I learned to actually open a Bible and read it for myself. As I began to grow, I learned that fear is the opposite of faith.
What was I putting my faith in? Was I putting it in God, His Word, and the finished work of Jesus on the cross? Or was I putting my faith in the things that I feared and their ability to harm, hurt, undo, or destroy me? I had some soul-searching to do!!!
At first it was hard. I wanted to believe...but...and you can fill in the blank here with any and every excuse known to man, because I used them all!
The truth of it is, though my battles are fewer, fought less often, and with much less intensity than in the past, fear produced from past experiences and fear of the unknown are still some of the biggest battles I struggle with on a daily basis. What I choose to do with those fears are up to me and I choose not to make excuses for them anymore. Fear is fear and I have authority over it. The question is...will I take it?
Today, I know that the weapons of my warfare are not carnal and that I don't have to put up with fear. It only has as much room to work in as I allow it, so, as soon as fear starts creeping around, I draw my Sword and give no quarter to the enemy.
So...what about COVID-19?
When I first started hearing the reports about COVID-19 I just blew them off. I figured that the media was making a big deal out of nothing and that it would blow over and fizzle out before it even got started. Whatever happened with it, it probably would never effect us here in the Midwest. Pray for those effected and go on. (Maybe not the best attitude to have, but it's the one that I had.)
As the reports of COVID-19 and the effects it was having around the world and, now, the U.S. started to increase my ears began to perk up a bit. When a call came from the nursing home on Tuesday, restricting our visits to Pat, the reports got my full attention. What on earth was happening???
By Thursday store shelves were completely emptied of things like flour, bread, hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays, and toilet paper, and I was told at work that we were to increase our cleaning and disinfecting efforts; as of yesterday afternoon all of our upcoming programs were to be cancelled immediately through April 30th (hikes, homeschool, public school, library, nature bingo, everything), and all items on display that could not easily be wiped and disinfected were removed and packed away. At 3:00 Friday afternoon President Trump declared a national emergency and at 5:00 Missouri Governor Parsons declared a state emergency. At present there are four known cases of COVID-19 in our state. It's a scary time.
Does that mean that we give way to fear and panic? NO!!!
Now is the time to pull in, draw close to God, stay in His Holy Word, and stand in faith against all that is contrary to the promises found therein.
COVID-19 is real. There are people that have it. Sadly, there are people dying from the complications of it right now; some have died already. There are grieving families and people that are scared. For some, this will not make sense, I know...but, the truth is...Jesus has already paid for it with His blood.
Now is not the time to give in to fear or panic; now is the time to rise up in spirit, stand on Truth, and prioritize! What's the most important thing in your life to you?
The bottom line is...what you do with Jesus...whether you choose to accept or reject Him...is the most important decision that you will ever make. To accept Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior leads to eternal life; to reject Him leads to eternal damnation in Hell. (If you've not accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and would like to find out more click HERE.)
Once you've accepted Jesus into your heart and made Him the Lord of your life, then it's time to get into His Word. Read it, listen to it being read on CD, keep it in your eyes, keep it in your ears, get it out of your head and down into your heart, memorize it, and stand on it! Pray before your read and ask the Holy Spirit to direct your reading and invite the Living Word of God to permeate your entire being. Then...live it!
In these scary times that we find ourselves today, there are only two choices available by which to live...
# 1 - You can choose to stand firmly on God's Word, its promises, and in faith based entirely on the finished work of Jesus at the cross.
# 2- Or you can give way to the enemy and live in fear.
Which will you choose?
Here is something for you to stand on in these troubled times...
Until next time...
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