Overcoming Fear During Times of Trouble
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely…if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
“The death toll has risen to …”. “Over a thousand new cases since yesterday.” “Stay home.”
How do you feel reading those statements? Yucky? Depressed? Anxious?
Me too. There’s a reason Paul encourages us to think about certain things. And not just think about them, but the New King James Version uses the word “meditate.” What does it mean to meditate? The Strong’s Dictionary defines it as, “to attend to, practice” or “be diligent in.” In other words, consistently practice, focusing all your attention on something.
When we practice something it’s so we can improve. When we study, we are diligently reading the material or practicing math problems. I can tell you it probably won’t be easy in the beginning. You might have to think about what you’re thinking. But over time, as we practice and purposefully think about the good things, those things that are praiseworthy, the feelings of fear and worry will be replaced with peace and joy, even as we continue to go through a difficult situation.
Does It Matter What We Think? If I’ve learned one thing during this time, it’s how utterly important it is to take each and every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When I allow myself to meditate on the statistics and what the media is bombarding us with, fear quickly pushes itself in. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
So, what can we think about when there’s a pandemic surrounding us? How can we meditate on good things when all we see are bad things? Here are a few suggestions. First of all, turn off the news. Stop Googling every ache and symptom you feel. Think about the goodness of God in your life. Are you healthy? Is your family healthy? Do you have a job or are you receiving an unemployment check? Do you have food on the table? If you said no to all of those, look outside and it won’t take long to find God’s love and mercy all around. Is the sun shining? Is the rain watering our earth? Are the trees budding and flowers beginning to bloom? Do you hear the birds singing? God created these for our enjoyment as well. If you still find it difficult to meditate on any of these things, call a friend or family member just to say hi. You will be amazed at how good it feels to let someone else know you’re thinking about them.
What are you doing to meditate on the good things? I’d love to hear from you!
Photo by Alan Emery on Unsplash