In the past weeks, we have been inundated with news, webinars, talks and rumors about COVID-19. Public events have been postponed. Schools, libraries, conference halls, and public centers are closed. As we hear more about the spread of the virus in the media, we are also surprised to find long lines in grocery stores and empty store shelves. Your local store may even be out of toilet paper, hand sanitizers, milk, meat, and more!
As many go into panic mode, it might seem reasonable to join them. However, God tells us to “have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).”
The root of our anxiety is fear — fear of what may happen. We may worry about catching the virus, about being shut-in, about not having enough food, about not having enough toilet paper! The list can go on and on. While we should all be wise in practicing safeguards (e.g., frequent hand washings, avoiding gatherings, stay home if we are ill), God tells us to have no anxiety over anything. Instead, we are to go to Him with our concerns and pray. When we do that, His peace that “passes all understanding” will guard our hearts. Even when life’s circumstances seem to demand anxiety, His peace (which makes no sense because it is supernaturally powered) will protect us.
As we continue to safeguard against spreading the virus with frequent hand-washing, avoiding touching our eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hand, social distancing, etc., I invite you to also safeguard against fear and anxiety by going to God. When troubles come, God calls us to put our faith in Him and shine His light to those who need hope — our patients and our families. We need to be a calm reassuring voice to the many who need us!
Finally, Jesus tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).”
May God’s peace fill your heart!
Ana Wong McDonald, Ph.D.
Mental Health Director
Spiritual Care Committee Chair