Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Dear Friends and Family of Gethsemane,
2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-discipline. As I look for words of encouragement to share with you all at this time, these words of Paul to Timothy from two thousand years ago come to mind.
The Holy Spirit of God lives within us. Of whom or what shall we fear? God did not give us a spirit of fear. God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. In other words, exactly what we need at this time.
We have brains in our heads and feet in our shoes (apologies to Dr. Seuss). That’s power. We listen to doctors and researchers who are tirelessly working to learn as much about this virus as possible and to share that information with us. There are guidelines given to us to help ease the crisis. By paying attention to these guidelines, learning about this virus, and thinking creatively about ways we can meet our needs and the needs of others, we can take steps toward health and wholeness for our community.
Every action we take must be rooted in love. If I, a healthy individual, choose to stay away from an elderly, dear friend or loved one, I am acting in love by putting their well-being above my desire to see them. If I purchase only the supplies I need for a reasonable amount of time rather than hoarding supplies, I am showing love to my neighbor by leaving supplies for others to purchase. If I schedule a time to call others who may be isolated and share some conversation with them, I am reaching out to them with the love of Christ.
Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). When we engage in acts of love, we have no room for fear to take hold in our lives. And when the doubts and fears begin to attack us, we remember the “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,” who creates us, sustains us, and promises to complete the good thing started in us.
It takes discipline to choose to stay home in order to protect others when I’d rather go out and have fun, or complete projects at work, or take a vacation, or make some money. It takes discipline to spend my time at home in a meaningful way. Perhaps this is a good time for spring cleaning, or reading a few books, or getting to know my family better, or increasing my prayer time.
God has given us everything we need to live through these uncertain times. We will choose to live in faith, not fear. We will choose to be empowered by knowledge, demonstrate love for our neighbor, and exercise self-discipline to come out on the other side of these trying times better than ever!
Blessings in your walk of faith,