Our faithfulness in the face of fear

By Will Norrid

Special to The Press

We have come to realize that there is a presence of danger abroad in the land. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has now spread to every inhabited continent on earth. All professional and college sports have canceled or indefinitely postponed their seasons. For perhaps the first time ever, church leaders are beginning to forego Sunday services and are encouraging faithful believers to stay at home. As of earlier this week, all schools in our area from our small local kindergartens to our large state university are closed. While most people have been patient and compassionate, there have unusual sights of longer lines and empty shelves.

While the origin of this virus is far away, day by day we are more and more aware of its effects upon our own community. Many businesses are closed and those that remain open have been forced to adapt. Hospitals and nursing homes are on high alert for the virus. As is often the case in moments of great trial, the old and the sick and the poor suffer most. The elderly who live alone and do not have ready access to food and medicine are at risk. The children with cystic fibrosis and the adults with COPD are vulnerable. The people at the edges of our economy who were just barely getting by now see their jobs in food service, tourism, and home healthcare becoming more uncertain. We are unmoored from our routines, from our easy access to goods and services, and from even the ability to shake a neighbor’s hand or to hug a friend.

We confess that fear rises within us. The news from outside our community is dark. It seems as if a dimness and a pall have fallen over the land – even over the whole world. The uncertainty is perhaps most frightening of all – what caused this? Where will the next case be discovered? How much will our community be impacted? Will anyone I know get sick? When will we know it is over? We have so many questions, and very few answers as even the experts are adjusting their judgments almost hour by hour.

Yet, because of our faith, we are not given over to panic.

Because of our faith, we lend a hand as people provide for one another.

Because of our faith, we adhere to the instructions given to us by healthcare officials.

Because of our faith, we don’t take more than we need.

Because of our faith, we check on the old and the lonely among us.

Because of our faith, we feed hungry children and encourage weary parents.

Because of our faith, we stay home to avoid accidentally carrying germs to others.

Because of our faith, we refuse to judge others who are more/less frightened than we are.

Because of our faith, we choose to look for the positive even in these tough times.

Because of our faith, we help the weak even when it would be easier to look away.

Because of our faith, we face an unknown future with hope rather than dread.

Because of our faith, we forgive things now that we honestly should have forgiven long ago.

Because of our faith, we continue to pray for our leaders at every level.

Because of our faith, we will not fear even if the struggle should grow greater.

Because of our faith, we will press on when it would be easier to give up.

And when this time of trial and testing is passed, we will be able to tell the next generation that, because of our faith, we held on, we kept going, and we did not surrender to fear.

Will Norrid has served as the minister of the Lebanon church of Christ in Dresden for the last 15 years. He can be contacted at willnorrid@gmail.com.

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