All through the Bible we are commanded to "Fear Not," or "Don't be afraid." This is because fear can drive us to do things we wouldn't otherwise do. It causes us to make bad decisions, to act impulsively, and it can cause us to run off a cliff like sheep without a shepherd. Fear can also discourage us. It can makes us feel isolated, confused, and hopeless. Left to our own devices and limitations discouragement and fear can spread (much like Covid-19).
Why is it some people give little concern to the Coronavirus outbreak while others fear the worse? I believe there are people who naturally have the ability to consider the information, look at the possible consequences, and who can respond rationally while others make decisions in an effort to "do something" and react in fear. This is how our humanity behaves in dangerous conditions through our "fight or flight" response. One person will turn and face the danger like a cool cucumber; and another will run screaming that the other should also run.
We see these two dynamics in what is happening all over the world. Some leaders are taking a calm approach to facing the Coronavirus while others are running around like their hair is on fire. Some faith communities are responding by closing their doors and providing live-stream while others close their doors completely. Some people eat the food that is stored up in their cupboards while others wait hours in line in order to hoard toilet paper.
Author and speaker Dale Carnegie once said, "Fear is a precondition of courage, not its opposite." He was explaining that the real opposite to courage is discouragement. When we become discouraged we loose faith, hope, and loose strength to carry on. I love this Bible verse that encourages us by explaining that we are not alone in the fight;
"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
We are living in a difficult time, but we have had other difficult times and lived through them. We will get through this one as well. How we get through this will set the stage for how we will respond in the future to other difficulties. If we create a pattern of running, we will always react to fear by running. If we create a pattern of courage, we are more likely to stand firm in the difficult times and face our fears. The choice is yours.
Day 58: Courage
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