When I am afraid

Fear is a common human emotion. The coronavirus pandemic has created sustained fear in the hearts of many people, especially the elderly, who are afraid to leave their homes in case they catch the virus. Some people I know have not left their homes since last March.

Fear can protect us from danger. Parents use fear in a positive way to teach their children to be careful when crossing the road or not to touch electric sockets in case they receive a shock. It is helpful for people to be aware that the coronavirus is easily transmitted and, in some cases, produces serious illness and even death. It is wise to be afraid of enclosed spaces, crowds, and close contact with others, especially those who may have the virus.

Fear can also paralyse us and prevent us from coping with daily life. So, it’s really important to know how to cope with fear. The psalms of David help us to know how to handle our fears. In Psalm 56, which he wrote when his enemies had captured him and his life was in danger, he says, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” Instead of being overcome by fear, he put his trust in God’s promise that he would be king. When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God.

When we are afraid, we can also pray for God’s help and protection. A few weeks ago, some good friends were in a very difficult situation with the virus. The husband is elderly and vulnerable. His wife is caring for him with the help of a team of carers who come into their home every day. One of the carers contracted coronavirus and, soon after their son, who lives with them also picked up the virus at work. All we could do was to pray for God’s protection for the couple and God graciously heard our prayers. When we are afraid, we can pray to God.

In Psalm 23 David speaks of his confidence in the Lord, who was his shepherd, even when facing death. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Despite the excellent care of doctors and nurses, good friends have died from coronavirus, and their families had only been able to visit them at the very end, but they, like David feared no evil because the Lord was with them.

2 responses to “When I am afraid”

  1. Thank you Peter for your thoughts on how to handle fear. I noticed this link at the end of your address. Sorry for the losses you wrote about, May God bless you and protect you and your family.

    • Dear Robert

      Thank you for your encouraging email. It’s great to hear from you. I hope you and Gladys are keeping safe and well as Margaret and I are.

      I’ve been writing the Thought for the Week articles for nearly 11 years and it’s always encouraging to hear from people who have read them.

      It was good to read in the latest MICEB prayer diary of how you are settling into your “retirement”. I retired as Director of UFM 8 years ago but continue as a “consultant”. I am still the editor of the 4 Corners magazine and also look after a small office we’ve opened in the USA to care for our missionaries from the States. As you know, Margaret and I also keep in touch with our retired missionaries through the XtraTime newsletter. Two weeks ago I spoke to Keith Cornell and also had a brief conversation with Paula who is very weak now. It was lovely to be able to speak to them both.

      Margaret and I send our love to you and Gladys.


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