The Power of Love Against Fear

February 29, 2020 by

Turn of a Leaf, by Kenneth Alexander
Turn of a Leaf, by Kenneth Alexander

The exploding Coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic is setting up our world for a destructive epidemic of fear. This fear is real. People are being isolated in quarantine by the thousands on all continents (excepting Antarctica which is the definition of isolation) and too many are dying from this disease every day. Fear of death and suffering is a universal human experience, regardless of faith or culture or time. Fear itself is infectious, and it feeds on the unknown and the unseen mistrust and insecurities that lurk hidden in our hearts. This kind of fear will not solve any crisis; it will leave us paralyzed.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”     2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

Like Paul instructed the early followers of Jesus, the antidote to fear is the power of love which will give clear thinking and positive action. How can we roll up our sleeves to help stop and dispel the spread of death and fear?

Action in thought, in word and deed is needed. And action in prayer.

We can think with love and empathy of those who suffer the anguish of lonely isolation and death in China and now all over the world. We can use reason to prepare for and prevent the spread of a highly contagious disease. We can speak words of courage, faith and comfort to any who are fearful or have loved ones at risk of dying, and we can speak out against the blame game of fear-mongering and hate. We can pray that victims and their families are given strength and help and that they are sustained through their grief and worry. We can act in small or big ways, depending on our position and capabilities.

Some will walk into the line of fire and tend to the sick and dying at risk to their own life, and a few, perhaps many, of these heroes will lay down their life for their fellow men, like the initial “whistleblower” Dr. Li Wen Liang did in Wuhan, China. Others will give background support and prop up lagging services or undone work. Many will spend untold hours on national crisis and disaster preparation, including all those who serve in health care industry, law enforcement, education and other areas of public service.

Finally and most importantly, we can believe that God is in control of all that happens in this world.

If spread of disease or fear of infection prohibits public gathering in recreational or worship spaces, we can pick up our mobile devices and message hopeful and supportive themes of love and unity, not fear and hate. We can pray for our government leaders, both those locally and in distant nations, instead of criticizing and second guessing their words and actions.

These words from Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:25-33, are so important:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? …

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Finally and most importantly, we can believe that God is in control of all that happens in this world, and the end result will be a victory for His Kingdom of peace, justice and love, where there will be no more tears, pain, or death.

J. Heinrich Arnold is a father and grandfather, as well as a pastor, physician assistant, teacher, and musician. He lives at Woodcrest, a Bruderhof in Rifton, New York. Follow him on Twitter: @JHeinrichArnold.


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Heinrich Arnold 1

J. Heinrich Arnold

J. Heinrich Arnold serves as a senior pastor for the Bruderhof in the United States and abroad.

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