Editor’s note: The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of The News Courier and its staff. We welcome editorial submissions from area church leaders. Those who would like to submit a column, story or photo should email submissions to lora@athensnews-courier.com. Submissions should be kept to no more than 500 words and not be considered inflammatory to the faith and/or values of others. We reserve the right to edit submissions for space and content.

The talk of the world is COVID-19. Only time will tell whether folks are overreacting to the current crisis.

One fact, however, is certain. People are fearful. The fear of many has turned into panic. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines panic as a sudden overpowering fright; a sudden unreasoning terror often accompanied by mass flight.” Many are anxious and in a frenzied state of mind. As proof, there has been a run on grocery stores and other retail businesses with regard to food, disinfectants and paper products. The empty shelves of those establishments attest to this truth. We should not take lightly that schools, libraries, restaurants and gyms are closing. The president and medical professionals highly recommend social distancing and limiting gatherings to a small number.

I am certainly not trying to persuade anyone to underestimate the danger of the coronavirus, its spread, sickness or the potential deaths that it could cause. No human being knows all the answers to these matters. That knowledge resides only with the omniscient God. Honestly, I myself would be lying if I said fearful thoughts about this issue had not crossed my mind. I appreciate that the elders of the Coxey congregation, and many others as well, have altered meeting times to minimize the chances of spreading the disease. It is my sincere prayer that none of the readers of this article become ill from this virus and that those who are stricken will have a full recovery. I am prayerful that the virus will die out in the next few weeks.

Do you know anyone who does not fear something, whether it be spiders, snakes or flying in a plane? We would be abnormal if we feared nothing. Remember that fear can be either a positive or a negative reaction. Fear that causes us to be cautious is a healthy, beneficial kind of emotional response. Is it not cautious fear that causes us to slow down to 25 mph in a school zone and to drive reasonably within the speed limit on the highway? God does not want us to act foolishly. On the other hand, what good does it do to panic? That will not resolve a situation. Good common sense is more helpful in times like this.

God is the only one who can truly calm our minds when things like this occur. Trust in him. God is the way to peace of mind during times of uncertainty and turmoil. A person submissive to Godwill can have serenity of mind during the most trying times. Paul wrote, Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9, NKJV). Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Recommended for you