A few weeks ago I started writing a post about how I wasn’t scared of the Corona Virus, or COVID-19 as it’s officially known.
The post was called “I’m not scared of Corona Virus, are you?”
Boy, what a difference a couple of weeks can make. Back then NZ was just getting its first case of COVID-19.
I was on my way to the supermarket after finishing work to pick up a couple of things. The radio was on and I was listening to the Prime Minister as she announced to the country that we had our first case. I think everyone knew at that point that we were heading for something big as a country. I don’t know that many of us understood how big at the time.
As I turned into the supermarket entrance I noticed a lot of cars behind me doing the same. I wandered around the isles and got what I needed before heading to another supermarket down the road to get some other items. There were noticeably more cars as I pulled into the car park. Most people looked like they had just left work and come straight to the supermarket. Given that it was the middle of the afternoon, it was quite an unusual sight.
As I walked around the store, every face I saw told a different story. A father looking to make sure his family had enough food, but unsure how long to plan for. A mother trying to find the right nappies after the usual brand was sold out. An elderly couple examining their list to see make sure they had everything.
While some were calm and indifferent, most seemed uncertain and a little bit fearful. The panic buying was evidence that it wasn’t just my imagination.
In that moment, some people were gripped with fear about what the future held.
I found it fascinating at the time because I simply couldn’t relate to feeling like that. I knew that God was in control and I had an overwhelming sense of peace about what the future held.
Life got incredibly busy over the next few weeks. Work was trying to get people working remotely and part of my job was to help make that happen for areas I look after. The church was unable to meet so again I had to pivot my focus and thinking. Within a few days, we had to get find a way to get content for online services filmed, edited and streamed. It has been a crazy few weeks.
I never got the chance to finish that post, and I’m now glad I didn’t. Why?
Because words are easy until you are tested.
I work for a media business which is a tough industry to be in at the best of times. But this crisis is affecting everyone on a massive scale and that includes us.
Today the CEO addressed the company via a streaming video message. He shared that our revenue had dried up and that we had no cash flow. This all happened in a matter of weeks. He didn’t sugar coat it, the outlook was grim.
He then asked us all to take a 15% pay cut for at least 3 months, likely longer.
I had been so busy with work, family and church that I hadn’t stopped to contemplate what my working future looked like. Details of what was happening to other companies had been shared widely across the different news platforms which I had read and seen. about it happening to a lot of other companies in the news, but I was totally unprepared for it to happen to me.
I sat there in a state of shock for a few minutes, unsure of what to do or think. After a while a grabbed a calculator and punched in some numbers to figure out in real terms what that meant for me. Pretty soon I had my answer.
I sat and stared at the screen for some times as thoughts raced through my head. Could we cope? What changes would we need to make to trim back our spending? How do I make sure my family has everything they need?
For the first couple of hours after the meeting, I was gripped with fear. The very same thing I had been judging others for only a few weeks ago, I was now allowing into my own life.
Adding to it was that night, my wife and I had to lead a small group from our Church. They were going to be looking for leadership and encouragement. Not for me to be drowning in my issues.
As I drove home I felt the Holy Spirit prod me and whisper, “remember that article you started, now’s the time to practice that faith.”
I knew He was right. He was allowing a test to see if what I could write from a place of comfort, could also be written, believed and acted on from a place of discomfort.
So then and there in the car, I prayed for a new peace to takeover the fear that had been allowed to enter my life. I prayed 2 Timothy 1:7 over my life and that of my family. Claiming the promise that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of peace, love and of sound mind. It’s a scripture that has stayed with me since I was a kid and it’s one I often come back to.
On the drive home, I knew that it was time to sit down and finish that post that was started a few weeks ago.
And so here I am, finishing what I started a few weeks ago. And I can honestly say that the peace that was present a few weeks ago has descended into my spirit once again. It’s a peace and comfort that comes knowing that my Father in heaven loves me. He has a plan and a purpose in all of this and it’s a plan for good, not for evil. Its a promise found in Jeremiah 29:11 and it’s one that I know you and I can stand on.
One of the practical things that you can do during times of uncertainty or feeling overwhelmed is to put on some worship music. You might not feel ready to worship or give praise in the natural, but your spirit is always ready. It’s always amazing to watch how quickly my mood changes in response to my spirit worshipping. There are plenty of great artists and churches releasing some powerful songs right now. One that is ministering to me at the moment is by Hillsong UNITED called Good Grace. Here are just some of the lyrics.
Don’t let your heart be troubled
Hold your head up high
Don’t fear no evil
Fix your eyes on this one truth
God is madly in love with you
Remember where our help comes from
You can also check out their video of the song which they recorded live at Passion 2020.
I encourage you to find some songs that speak and minister to you. Save them in a playlist and listen to them often. You will be amazed at the change that starts to happen inside as you allow them to minister to you.
The next few weeks, months and even years hold a lot of uncertainty for everyone. No-one can accurately predict what the future holds and how life is going to change. However, what I do know is that God is in control. I have hope in the promise that he works everything together for good for those who love and trust him.
I’ll do my best to keep writing and to increase the frequency a bit more. I’ll share what’s happening in my journey in the hope that it encourages you in yours. If you have any questions then please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer you.
Stay safe, be kind and look out for each other.