Emotions, Fear, Health, Illness, Worry

Laura’s Story: Fighting Pandemic Fear with Faith

I’m in my early 50’s, and my husband is almost 60. My son recently came home from college and we have two other young adult kids living on their own. During these wild and surreal days, many thoughts have shot through my head: “What happens if my husband gets COVID-19? My kids? Oh…our parents?! Is my school teacher daughter more likely to carry it? Should she even come over? Do we have enough supplies? Did I buy too little when we went out? Did I buy too much? What about the economy?” As my thoughts dart about, periodic moments of fear threaten to grip my throat and unsettle my stomach. So much has changed in the last week. “What can I count on? How should I now live?”

Lord over COVID-19

In this world of uncertainty, I can know that Christ is Lord. Jesus preceded COVID-19. This is not a surprise to Him. Jesus comes before all things, even COVID-19 (John 1:1-3). I can be tempted to believe that my family’s safety is under my control, but I know that’s not really true from things I’ve experienced in the past. The Nashville tornado missed my son by a few mere miles. Years ago I was suddenly hospitalized and couldn’t walk unaided for weeks due to an inner ear virus. I’ve lost loved ones and there was nothing I could do about it. I know my “control” is fleeting and more of an illusion than I think.

When I’m tempted to think “I hold all things together,” or the universe is a crapshoot, I can remember that “in Christ all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-18). The universe is not composed of random pieces of chance where 2020 is the unlucky number that was drawn, but rather all that is happening now is under Christ’s sovereign rule. “[Christ] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Christ repeatedly demonstrated His rule over nature through His earthly life, but this was most vividly demonstrated through His power over the grave. He died, rose again, and walked right out of the tomb! My hope is not in being healthy. I know I’ll die eventually! My hope is in Christ, the one who conquered sin and death, and gives me new life! 

The effects of original sin

Watching the news sometimes makes me physically ill. I’ve always been disturbed by natural disasters, political disorders, and gross injustices. These are the effects of original sin. Ever since the first sin, the world has gone into decay (Romans 8:19-23). This was confirmed in my college thermodynamics class (things naturally go from order to disorder – entropy). Christ promises to one day rid the world of discord, decay, disease, disability, disorder, disaster and death (Revelation 21:1-6). And He will one day abolish me of my sin too. This week I’ve struggled with the sins of impatience and irritability at my fellow quarantined housemates. Also when fear has gripped me, the root has been the sin of unbelief; in these instances I’ve functionally believed “in Laura all things hold together,” not “in Christ all things hold together” (Mark 9:24).

Savior of creation, Savior of me

In these moments, I can ask my Savior for forgiveness and I know He forgives me (1 John 1:7-9). I know that God saves me by faith through grace, not because of what I’ve done, but rather what Christ has done on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9). I first placed my faith in Christ when I was a preteen: convinced that Christ was Lord, I was a sinner in need of a Savior, He is my only savior and I entrusted my life to Him. Therefore I know I’m saved from eternal judgement and death, and instead get the gift of eternal life with Christ! (John 5:24). I thank God that Christ is not only Lord, but also Savior – Savior of creation and also, Savior of me!

Living today by faith

Now, how do I live today? How do I shop? How many supplies do I really need? How do I love my neighbors while trying to keep germ free? I’m challenged by Jesus’ call to love God and love others (Matthew 26:36-40). The only way I can do this is to look to Christ for everything and pray. He will help me know what it means to live wisely, lovingly, and sacrificially for Him. In addition to asking God for forgiveness, I can ask my family for forgiveness when I’m irritable and impatient. And I can extend forgiveness and grace to them.

Also living by faith means battling my unbelief proactively by regularly setting my mind on what is true, right and good – reading scripture and responding to God in prayer. I can even ask others to pray for me. And taking a “sabbath” from the news periodically is a way of trusting God and finding my rest in Him! I know that if I don’t center myself on the truths of the Gospel, my motivation to serve others won’t last long. He can help me learn what it looks like to love Him and others in difficult times, one day at a time. Today, by faith I reached out to a neighborhood group and offered practical help. Who knows what tomorrow’s needs will be. With God’s help, I can run the marathon race of faith that is set before me while resting in Christ’s sovereign rule (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Laura Kleinschmidt is the Director of Women’s Ministries at The Orchard – Barrington and is currently working on her Masters in Counseling. She and husband Dave have been married for over 27 years and have three adult children. She’s passionate about applying the Gospel to everyday circumstances and loves The Brady Bunch, corn puffs (fake popcorn that has the texture of Styrofoam) and laughing while playing tennis.

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