“One Day at A Time”
This Pastor’s corner explores faith verses fear- especially concerning the recent rise in COVID cases.
I remember the radio station KWTX news reporting at 6PM on April 27, 2020 that, and I am paraphrasing, ‘church services can expand their capacity’. Social distance with two chairs between members was one of the rules, and I remember that this could all begin May 1, 2020 in Texas.
Therefore, the 7th Day Congregation Church at Eddy started to institute rules as given by Governor Abbott for eating, drinking, and socializing. That was a year and a half ago. Many freedoms returned, but now, the COVID D variant has increased the epidemic again. We know of a small church that possibly all the members contracted this disease with the Pastor being hospitalized. This is serious, and many live within fear of what might happen. Today, during the reading of the prayer list in church, we heard about a teenager dying of COVID. These, as last year, are fearful times.
My wife and I were driving home today from church began to wonder if the church would even be allowed to congregate for the Feast of Tabernacles in September. Also, we do not know who the next victim of this horrible disease will be. Preachers are asking from the pulpit if this is the time of the end. I think along those lines all the time; catastrophe does that to us.
“One Day at a Time”
I can never forget the two times in my life when fear gripped me so hard that I was walking the floor at 2AM and fearing tremendously what daybreak would bring. The first was going to the gulf war known as Iraqi Freedom, and the second was the day when I began my radiation treatments for cancer. This kind of fear brings on feelings that are very now, deep, and real. The Air Force calls it when a pilot is in the dangers of an ariel dogfight- “a sudden dose of reality”. It is not about the pleasures from that future vacation that you might have next year if you can save enough money, but it is about just surviving another day. Crystal Lane’s song “One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus” reflects the feelings of the Vietnam war and how the soldiers survived one day at a time.
We may be heading into that era of “one day at a time”. Fear grips us when we think that we might be the next victim of COVID. We fear the unknown of being cut off from our church. The first time that I put on my chemical suit for real in the gulf war, I felt an aloneness that I had never felt before in my life. Hearing my own breathing through that heavy rubber mask did not help either. In the last COVID outbreak, my wife Lisa and I drove to the church, and while alone, she ran the sound equipment while I preached sermons on line. We may be back to that again soon. Any direction you look at it, the future looks bleak.
What does the Bible say concerning fears?
Isaiah knew fear, yet he knew the power of Yahweh concerning fear. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10.
It is very difficult to face a disease and “not be dismayed”, but Yahweh is our strength. He promised His help and that he would uphold us.
But many still get sick, and unfortunately, some die. This is very fearful.
I prayed every day that I was in war and every day that I went into radiation. Finally, the war ended for me, and I was on the most beautiful airplane that I ever saw riding home. When radiation ended, I got to ring that large brass bell in the lobby. In both cases, God and the people around me got me through. I can only wish the best for those who helped me so much to overcome my fears and do what was appropriate.
Faith against fear
Yahweh did not give us the spirit of fear. Satan or ourselves took on that spirit. God gave us power to overcome fear with “love” and “sound minds”:
“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.
The shepherd and later king of Israel David wrote: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalms 23:1
There are many such scriptures that prove God’s eternal love for us and His wanting to protect and watch over us. Yet, we are tested at times to build our character. I have seen the mighty of men crumble and the weak hang on for another day through the grace of God. I think of myself as the latter.
Paul said, “38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39. Paul lived during some very rough times of persecution. Yet, he followed Our Messiah through all things. David said, “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
We are His!
It all boils down to this, we are His. “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Isaiah 43:1-3. Of course, Yahweh was speaking to the prophet Isaiah, but He is also speaking to us. We are His, and He protects us and guides us through those things that we fear just like He guided me through war and through radiation for cancer. That “one day at a time thing” really works if that one day is spent in prayer and dependence on Him to get you through.
The old song, “I am weak, but Thou art strong” says it perfectly. He is our strength and our fortress. Bad things will happen to us, even death, but He is always there to get us through to the other side. That is perfect love, and “He” is that perfect love that casts out all fears. The Apostle John proclaimed, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fear is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18. In a few days, we will be into the Fall Feasts of 2021. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, let alone in a few days. But He is there always. Let us remember to always pray and trust in Him. Our Messiah said it best, and I close with these two verses, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34, and Paul declared, “13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13. May God bless all of you and keep you well.