Fear, Death and Panic

As most of California, we are staying at home.

I also have symptoms. I’m not worried about me. But I certainly don’t want to spread anything around, out of love for my neighbor.

As I watch the stockpiling of weird supplies, the fist fights in the lines,  the empty shelves ravished by frightened people, I remembered what Satan said to God, accusing Job of loving the Lord simply because the Lord gives him things.

4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. (Job 2:4)

The power of the devil is the fear of death. It is HIS voice that causes the panic and the fear and the bargaining.

And that makes me sad. Life is a vapor (James 4:14) and we have no control over it anyway. Virus or no virus, every moment we are under the sentence of death, and held in bondage by the fear of death.

All that a man has, he will give for his life.

But this is not us, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus became flesh, united himself to us and was obedient unto death. The sword fell on him and the sting of death is removed. And then, in this flesh, he rose from the dead for our justification. When the sword of God’s wrath fell on Jesus, Satan’s greatest weapon was destroyed – the fear of death.

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Heb 2:14-15)

For us, we are now no longer in bondage to the fear of death, since death is now no longer a punishment for sin, but a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.

19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
(Phi 1:19-24)

Whether we live, then, or die, our concern is for the glory of Christ and the good of our neighbor. If he calls us home tomorrow, or down the road apiece, we still belong to Him and our prayer should always be that Christ be magnified in our bodies, whether we live or die.

This does not mean that we willfully put ourselves in danger. It does not mean that we act foolishly. And it certainly does not mean that keeping the outward ceremonies of the law (the physical gathering of the church) should outweigh our neighbor’s life. This was the mistake the Pharisees made, and it made Jesus angry.

It means this: Love your neighbor. Don’t sell your dignity, honor and birthright for a case of toilet paper. Don’t take all the eggs. Leave some for someone who needs them more than you.

Consider that person in line as more important than yourself. “Will God not clothe you, O you of little faith?”

And don’t prove the devil right. Don’t sell everything in exchange for your own skin. It’s a bad bargain, and you will lose it anyway.

“What shall it profit a man if he corner the market on eggs and toilet paper, and lose his own soul?”

The fact is this: One day – maybe sooner, maybe later – you are going to stand before your Maker. He has given you one talent, and maybe more. But one that he has given you is your life, like a tiny flower, on this earth for a little while.

How did you use that gift? In love and service, in quiet and calm, resting in him, magnifying the Lord Jesus in your body?

Or did you bury it in exchange for your own skin? Do you die alone surrounded by all the eggs and all the toilet paper and all the cartons of milk?

It’s a metaphor, people! I think that love for our neighbor requires that we practice what we are told to practice. Shut yourselves in for the good of your neighbor.

But you don’t have to hoard. You don’t have to panic. You don’t have to fear.

Don’t sell your peace and don’t sell your dignity and don’t sell your birthright to save your own skin.

Let the peace of God rule your hearts and minds.

3 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Providence

3 responses to “Fear, Death and Panic

  1. bbeneckecharternet

    Beautifully stated and a wonderful reminder. We’re just passing through, this place(thankful) is not our home! Praise the Lord.

  2. Richard

    Thank you!
    I’m glad you had the ability to serve by way of writing.
    Take care of yourself and family.

  3. Anu Riley

    The imagery is appalling, but slightly amusing:

    “Do you die alone surrounded by all the eggs and all the toilet paper and all the cartons of milk?”

    I got a rather absurd image of that in my mind. Before all of this, NO ONE would have offered that kind of example to illustrate trusting in the “treasures of the world” that are doomed to fade away, versus the “treasures in Heaven,” where they never fade away.

    How quickly what are considered treasures change and shift in the blink of an eye. When I was young, Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage. And I exhibited a lot of rage when I wasn’t given one. They were $30 around then, but since everyone BUT me seemed to have one, it was a “treasure” that was worth the money (well, someone else’s money!)

    “I remembered what Satan said to God, accusing Job of loving the Lord simply because the Lord gives him things.”

    When Job had lost everything, he used a broken piece of pottery to scrape at his wounds. And what a reflection that was of his broken life, not just his broken body. Using a symbol of his broken life to deal with his broken body.

    He lost everything AND everyone he loved, except his wife, and their relationship was broken for a time.

    I got angry at his so called friends for not even thinking to bring him a bucket of water, and a clean, sanitized way to tend to his wounds. Surely they could have spared the minimal time and expense to demonstrate their love for him.

    Even though they sat in the ashes with him, I wonder if they were thinking of ways to discuss the state of his brokenness, not actually deal with the reality of it. Why bother, anyway? Nothing will bring back the wealth he stored up, the children he had raised up.

    Will giving out extra supplies to others solve all their problems? NO, of course not! But you HAVE made their suffering a bit less intense.

    Hey, a roll of toilet paper will only last so long, but keeping your butt clean, even for a short time, as you wonder how you’ll pay bills, stay healthy and stay SANE—no one can say that’s nothing.

    I especially loved this line: “And don’t prove the devil right.”

    We could go on and on about THAT, but keep that in mind as we tread through this. I’m scared and anxious, too. But I don’t want to prove a soulless monster like the devil to be right.

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