I have to admit, on the afternoon of Friday, March 13th, when I heard our President declare the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency, I doubted the goodness of God. How could a ‘good’ God allow a disease to sweep through our nation, and our world, killing thousands and leaving billions sick and afraid? I know this isn’t the most optimistic way to start a blog post, but I vowed to keep life real with all of you and lately, my world has been feeling fearfully messy.
After President Trump’s announcement, all I kept replaying in my mind was the phrase, ‘National Emergency’, and terror flooded my soul and warped its way around my mind. What if I get the coronavirus? What if I don’t know if I have it and pass it to someone who is immunocompromised? What if the market completely crashes and can’t recover? What’s going to happen to my job? How are we going to get more toilet paper (you think I’m kidding, but this thought actually crossed my mind as our Walmart stands empty)?!
I woke up Saturday morning almost forgetting the fear from the day before. As morning crept slowly into my soul and awakened my mind, the anxiety from yesterday began to grip me all over again. There is an uneasiness that has captured our nation and the rest of the world beyond, and it had captured me too that morning. It’s what I laid in for a moment before this verse drew itself sharply into my mind.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
– Joshua 1:9
I knew it was the sweet whisperings of Jesus because there is absolutely no reason why that verse would etch itself so perfectly on my heart at that exact moment.
And that, right there, is why God is still good.
God is still good despite the disaster striking everyone’s hearts because He sees our fear and our anguish, and He isn’t disgusted or surprised by it. God is still good because He sees those that have lost loved ones due to this nasty virus, and instead of being stoic and unbothered, He cries out in pain and anger with you. God is still good because He sits with you in your anxiety, in your sorrow, in your ‘what ifs’ and your worries, and He understands. He sympathizes and knows and fully sees your misery, and He has compassion and empathy for you, rather than aggravation and carelessness.
God is good because He is with us.
God never promised us the world, but He did promise us Himself. He never promised perfect health, fancy houses or wealth, but He did promise us eternal life with Him. He told us that troubles would come, but that we should take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). If He has overcome the world, then the God you and I both serve and love knew that COVID-19 would plague the nation at the exact moment that the first infected person entered the United States of America. Nothing is a surprise to Him, and for whatever reason that I do not understand or wholeheartedly agree with, He allowed it to happen. All I know right now, at this very moment, is that I am choosing to believe that He is good… because He is with me. I am choosing to believe He is good because He has yet to fail me even when I fail Him. I am choosing to trust in His faithfulness because He is a God of miracles and of sound truth, and I declare to you this day that He is a God that is capable of overcoming your deepest fears if you would choose to reach out and take hold of His lasting peace.
Fear has a way of revealing itself when we feel the most vulnerable; when the unknown becomes greater than the known. I think most of us would agree that the Coronavirus has made us feel pretty dang vulnerable and uncertain. This too shall pass, but fear will always pose as the major threat to our sanity and our faith. And because of this, I’ve started combatting my fear and turning it into faith by putting into practice three different things, and I’d like to share them with you today.
Worship is a way to remind myself of the goodness of God. It’s an act of surrender as I take my eyes off myself and my worries, and choose to look up into the loving eyes of my Father. A good, wildly gracious and radically unchanging Father, who meets me with His light and wraps me in His arms to make me whole. I encourage you to meet Jesus in the quiet of a melody just as you are, maybe with a cup of coffee or tea in hand, maybe with a broken heart or a soul filled with joy. Wherever you are, I pray you find time throughout this messy life to pause and enter into a time of worship to center your mind and your heart on the Lover of your soul and allow Him to remind you that He is with you, and He is good. Allow worship to replace your worry. (If you check out my website – https://celiaamiller.com/my-worship-playlist/ – I’ve shared with you my Spotify worship playlist to get you started).
2. His Word.
Grabbing ahold of His Word and allowing His Scripture to renew my mind replaces my panic with His peace. Our emotions rage and change and waver, but His truth always remains the same, unchanged and unmoved. His voice within those Scripture pages is an anchor I can always confidently tether my soul to without doubt or question. There are certain Scriptures I have memorized to combat my fear that I have used throughout my life. In times of trouble, I speak them aloud and can physically feel the fearful energy in the room submit to the presence of my God. Below are a few of my personal favorites –
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. – Deuteronomy 33:12
Be gentle with yourself, and be gentle with others. Give some grace, sister. Throw it around like confetti and roll around in it! Because if you’re dealing with fear, you’re going to need to combat it with the truth of His love-filled grace. This can be hard because most of us like to strive for perfection in ourselves and then we throw that expectation onto others. The reality, though, is that we all deal with fear differently – we all process it in our own ways – and we have to learn to be ok with that. We have to accept that we’re feeling afraid – give it a name – because there’s nothing wrong with feeling the emotion of fear. It becomes a problem when we begin to operate out of our fear instead of trusting Jesus with our ‘what ifs’ and unknowns. You are allowed to be scared, you are allowed to be anxious, and you are allowed to let things bother you. But I would strongly encourage you to invite Jesus into those emotions, share your heart with Him, and then allow His grace to cover you and bring you peace of mind.
Sister, I’m all about keeping life honest, raw and wildly real. Fear exists because life is messy and unpredictable. But we are coated in the love of our Heavenly Father who fights for us even when we can’t fight for ourselves, even when the fear sets in.
In the face of the fire, I urge you to hold onto this simple yet powerful truth: God is good because He is with us.