I was talking with a local postal worker this week and he told me something phenomenal. He said that several college students were bringing in boxes and boxes daily to ship out all over the country. Their contents: medical masks. Due to the coronavirus, there is an increasing shortage of these masks. The students found out they could make a ton of money selling them. So they are going to local Lowe’s and buying masks by the caseload and then re-selling them at a huge profit.
There is a run on masks all over the world, particularly in Asia and, now, Europe. The supply and demand ratio has created an opportunity for a financial windfall. What’s behind all of this? Fear.
People are growing more and more fearful as news reports from around the world pronounce the growing spread of the virus. Although influenza kills far more people each winter here in the US, and the percentage of deaths from the coronavirus is very low, fear is spreading. And not only about the virus, but also the economic disruption it is already causing and will cause for the foreseeable future. 401K’s and IRA’s are likely to plummet in value. As of today, the DOW has already lost 2000 points just this week!
There are three things to be learned from this situation. First, we as humans are always vulnerable because we are mortal and not invincible. Most of us tend to not think about death, serious illness, or potential financial setbacks until they encroach on our lives. Given our fallen nature, we are bent to think we are the masters of our lives. Until we aren’t. Even when we feel we are on top of the world, it is an illusion. We each could drop dead of a heart attack on the mountain summit. We attempt to control so much of our lives, but there is so much over which we have little control.
Secondly, regardless of how bad things get, as believers, we need not fear. Jesus predicted we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). It’s to be expected. Even if life is going well, it will not always remain that way. That’s just a fact. So we shouldn’t be surprised when bad things happen. But, Jesus also said in the same verse that we should “take heart” because he has overcome the world, including all the trouble that comes with living in it. How does he do that? We find the answer from the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
It’s important to note that Paul does not say that God only works through the good things that happen; rather, “all things.” So Jesus overcomes the troubles we encounter in the world, not by shielding us from them (though he can, if he so desires), but by bringing good out of them. A perfect example is Corrie ten Boom. Living in Amsterdam, her family hid Jews being pursued by the Nazis prior to the start of World War II. Once caught, her whole family was sent to concentration camps. Her entire family died in the camps and she suffered horribly during her imprisonment. Troubles, terrible troubles came to her. But God brought good out of her experiences by opening doors for her to share the Gospel all over the world during the rest of her life! Had she not been imprisoned by the Nazis, it is unlikely anyone would have known her beyond her family and within her neighborhood. As she noted in her book, Tramp for the Lord, her sister told her over and over while they were imprisoned together that the Lord was in control and would use their circumstances for their good and his glory. And he did!
Thirdly, our love for and trust in the Lord will help us overcome the fear of any situation. The Apostle John says that “perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18) When we truly know that the Lord loves us, we can experience peace rather than fear in any circumstance.
We will not escape troubles, but we can handle them much differently than the unbelieving world, not with fear and panic. Rather, we can face troubles with confidence that the Lord is in control and he will bring good out of whatever we are facing, no matter how severe. This is our witness to the unbelieving and fearful world that there is One who is in control and we trust him. As a result, some may decide they would rather entrust their lives to him, as well, than live in fear.
© Jim Musser 2020 Scripture References from the New International Version.