I had been overseas for ten days and missed my family greatly. Every flight from London to the U.S. was now considered a terrorist target, and for the first time in many trips I was scheduled to fly from London.
Fear and anxiety began to creep into my thoughts when I read Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God’s promises brought God’s peace.
In Psalm 46:1-2, similar promises join those of Isaiah’s to offer peace in the face of the current pandemic. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…”
The you, our, and we in these verses narrow the promise and provision of peace from God to those who are at peace with God. Our rebellious nature puts us at odds with God and subject to His punishment (not at peace). Paul tells us that an innocent Christ died to take the punishment we deserve so that everyone who believes in Him is just before God and at peace with Him (Romans 3:28; 5:1,8-10).
According to Jesus, those who are at peace with God are granted peace from God. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The same sovereign and loving God who welcomes all who believe into His family is powerfully present to protect and provide for His spiritual children. As a child I would run into my dad’s office to escape bullies, and I felt safe in his presence. Every child of God can run into the arms of our Heavenly Father in the face of COVID-19, financial uncertainty, persecution at work or school, terrorist threats, or relational struggles, and know peace.
Those at peace with God don’t naively expect blissful, pain-free living. We have no guarantee of how the difficulties tempting us to respond in fear and anxiety will end. We could get sick, lose our job, or suffer great financial loss, but we don’t panic because of our confidence that our loving God is present, powerful, and purposefully calling the shots. God either gets me through in a way that grows me and gives Him glory, or He takes me home to be with Him for eternity. Either way is a victory.
Resting in God’s promises means helping, not hoarding, but neither is our faith foolish. We should still wash our hands, stay home when we are ill, diversify our portfolio, and heed state department travel bans.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing… the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” (Romans 15:13,33)