How do you handle something frightening? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I have a general rule about major “crises” in the world today. That’s to do my best to not panic. Fearmongering doesn’t do any good. Generally, I am anxiety prone. Having gone through a divorce now, I even take medication to help me with anxiety and it does a great deal of good, but I still have to apply the wisdom I have and my knowledge of Scripture. I don’t condemn medication, but medication without sound practice is not wise at all.
When the Coronavirus was first announced, I heard the news about it being on a cruise ship and how the majority of the people there recovered just fine. I knew then the simple principle I had through all other number of diseases and viruses that came our way. It’s a simple tip. As Douglas Adams said, “Don’t Panic.”
So as I saw the rest of the world me panicking over the Coronavirus, I was handling it just fine. Now note this part. I am not denying the virus is real. I am not denying that many people suffered and died from it. I am not saying that we shouldn’t take precautions in this. What I am saying is we shouldn’t lose our minds in fear. My contention is a lot of the measures we take to stop the virus in the long run actually did a lot more harm than they did good.
I think many people who did that fear lean towards the left politically also, so let’s look at the right as well. Yesterday, my mother came upstairs to my room, seeing as I have been living with my parents since the divorce, though I hope to be accepted at NOBTS and move down to New Orleans soon. She told me that soon toothpaste would be at $10 a tube. I generally buy the cheapest store brand stuff that I can so I rarely pay more than $1 or so. We’re talking about a major price increase.
So I looked it up. I found that there was an article about inflation that said that Colgate was coming out with a new toothpaste that would be $10 a tube. My guess is someone saw that and panicked and ran with it. In our society, it’s like we have an addiction to fear. We practically want to be afraid of something. That way, we can feel safe when we know someone can take care of it.
Now to go back to what my mother said, note that I am not at all denying inflation. I work in retail. I see it every day that I work. I am not at all denying high gas prices. I am halfway between 41 and 42 and I have never seen gas prices this high. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any concern.
However, let’s consider this. Isn’t it when times are hardest that often people rise up and do the most good? I just finished listening to a biography of John Adams while driving. It’s amazing to hear about what these ordinary people did in the start of our nation’s history. Were they scared? Sure they were. If they weren’t, they were crazy. They were taking on the most powerful people at the time in the world, if not the most powerful ever.
We also know there were preachers who preached a sermon every Sunday and yet they had a bounty on their heads. They kept going. They weren’t letting their fear control them.
We could point to many other times in history. As Christians, we hold that the disciples were scared after the crucifixion of Jesus. Where would our world be if they had not lost that fear? Where would they be if they had stayed locked in that room even after the Holy Spirit came? I happen to also like the prayer in Acts 4 that they speak the Word of God with boldness. They still had fear and needed to overcome it.
Panicking about something really does us no good. With medication, matters are much easier for me and if that’s what it takes for you, that’s fine too. I also recommend the book by Pierce Taylor Hobbs called Struck Down But Not Destroyed. The book is the best book on anxiety I have ever read and if you want to know about the Facebook group he has for this, well, you need to read the book and then join it as he tells the name of the group in it.
I don’t know how many times in the past I knew i needed to get up early to do something and I would worry if i would get to sleep in time to get all the sleep I need. Want to know what happened? No, you don’t. You already know. Odds are you’ve been there. You don’t sleep nearly as well that night.
Panic doesn’t do any good. Concern is one thing, but if it drives you to do nothing, then it is useless. If you have any fear or anything of that sort, let it drive you to do something about it. After my separation from my ex, for example, I knew I could lie down and be the victim and let life walk all over me. That was a choice. However, I chose instead to not be a victim anymore, but to get up and live my life and make the most of it. As a lifelong gamer, I chose to play to win. Some people after a divorce want revenge on their ex.
Sue Grafton, for instance, is the mystery writer who wrote those books that were the alphabet mysteries like A Is For Alibi. How did she get started with this? Her divorce and custody battles left her so hurt she thought about ways to murder her ex and knew she was a law-abiding citizen and would never do it, so why not turn them into murder mysteries? It’s certainly a better outlet than committing actual murder.
Also, as a Christian, I have recently told two people who have come to me scared about something to consider a Babylon Bee headline. Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Omnipotent and Omniscient is Totally Caught Off Guard by XYZ. Put whatever you want in that blank. It will work the same way. When you hear it that way, if you’re a Christian, you can say, “Yeah. That is ridiculous.
I also think of the Heidelberg Catechism. While this Catechism is Protestant and more specifically Calvinistic and used to teach Calvinist doctrines, the first part, every Christian Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, should be able to affirm.
So folks, when the next craze comes along, take it seriously if need be and take proper precautions, but don’t panic. It never does you any good and only makes you less effective to handle it. Stand up and face the problem. It’s hard to solve it if you’re running from it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)