Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Title: Overcoming Pandemic Fear
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳

Matthew 14:27 “But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.’”

Today’s world is undergoing a massive upheaval. We are in the midst of a worldwide Covid-19 pandemic which has devastated our world for almost one and a half years, and is continuing to do so unabated. To date, it has claimed more than 3.3 million lives worldwide including more than 2,000 in Malaysia.

The hardest thing to handle is probably the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic – how long will it last, how bad will the situation be before it gets better, will there be enough vaccines for the entire world, will the current vaccines provide protection against the mutant strains of the virus… these and many other unanswered questions have resulted in a prevailing sense of overwhelming dread and panic.

To make matters worse, newspapers and social media bombard us daily with content about how the pandemic is ruining our peaceful and normal routines of life – threatening health, tearing down economies, claiming lives and destroying countless livelihoods as well as afflicting the mental and emotional well-being of many others.

Endlessly searching Google for answers and not being able to find concrete answers has resulted in the fueling of fears and anxieties. Inevitably, we feel drained, overwhelmed and in despair.

The good news is that there is hope! The best and most effective barricade against fear and anxiety can be constructed by filling our minds with the truth of God’s Word. God has promised sufficient grace to cope with life’s struggles. His command to us is “Do not be afraid.” It is by simple obedience of this command that we can overcome the crippling effect of fear and live with an indomitable spirit.

Matthew 14:22-33 records the miracle of our Lord Jesus walking on water. Jesus came to the disciples in the boat, walking on the sea in the midst of a storm. The exhausted disciples, who had been rowing all night, were afraid thinking Jesus was a ghost. Jesus reassured them saying, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

Peter sought further confirmation of Jesus’ identity by asking Jesus to bid him “come”. So Jesus invited Peter to do so. Peter had enough faith to step out of the boat in the darkness of the raging storm. At first his eyes were fixed on Jesus. So he did not have to worry about the wind or the waves because he had faith that Jesus would not let him drown. When Peter focussed on Jesus, his faith was strong. He knew nothing and no one is more powerful than Jesus!

However the minute Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he was overwhelmed by the things around him that were more powerful than he was. He started to sink into the waters. He had allowed himself to doubt the power of Jesus and this doubt led to fear for his life. Thankfully, Jesus moved fast and grabbed Peter’s hand, thereby saving his life!

The pandemic is too big and too scary for us to handle. But nothing is too big for Jesus. Let us focus our eyes on Jesus rather than on the pandemic that threatens to engulf us in despair. With Jesus, the Lord of the storms, we can confidently walk through every storm in life. He will grant us peace in the midst of these troubling times.

It is said that the command “fear not” (or variations of it) is used 366 times in the Bible (one command for every day, including Leap Year!). God does not want us to go through a single day without hearing His comforting words “fear not”!

Yes, we must do our best to fully comply with the SOPs put in place by the government, including adhering to the 3Cs ( Avoid Crowded places, Confined spaces and Close conversations) and 3Ws (Wash hands, Wear a mask and heed Ministry of Health Warnings).

But the best thing to do for OVERCOMING PANDEMIC FEAR would be to, in simple faith, obey our Lord’s command “Do not be afraid”. God does deliver His children from fear – provided we surrender it to Him. Faith builds us up, fear tears us apart!

Prayer:

Our Heavenly Father, many of us live in fear, gripped by a sense of anxiety and hopelessness, choked by worries arising from unanswered questions. We turn our hearts to You. We know You are completely trustworthy and will never fail us. We ask that You strengthen our faith and help us to keep our eyes fixed on You, so that we will not be drowned in the waves of despair, but rise up with hope and stand firm! For we know whether on mountain top or in the deepest valley, You are always with us and will never leave us! We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期二,2021年5月25日
标题:克服对疫情的恐惧
作者:陈俊芳姐妹
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹

马太福音14:27 “耶稣连忙对他们说:“你们放心,是我,不要怕!”

当今世界正在经历一场巨变。将近一年半的时间里,我们处于一场摧毁全球的新冠肺炎疫情中,而且这种情况还在有增无减。至今,它已夺走了全世界超过3.3百万人的生命,其中包括马来西亚的2000多人。

最难处理的事情或许是环绕着疫情的不确定性 – 它将持续多久、在情况好转之前会有多糟糕,是否有足够的疫苗供应给全球,目前的疫苗是否可以提供保护抵御变种的病毒……这些问题和其他许多悬而未决的问题导致了一股令人不知所措的恐惧和恐慌感。

更糟的是,我们每天都被报章和社交媒体的内容轰炸着,内容是这场疫情如何毁掉了我们平静和正常作息的生活 – 威胁健康、拖垮经济、夺走生命和摧毁了无数人的生计,并折磨着许多人的心理和情绪安康。

无止尽地在谷歌上搜索答案,却找不到具体的答案,导致了恐惧和焦虑的加剧。无可避免地,我们感到精疲力尽、不知所措和绝望。

好消息是,希望依然存在!用上帝话语的真理填满我们的思想,是对抗恐惧和焦虑的最好和最有效的屏障。上帝已应许我们有足够的恩典应对生活的挣扎。祂对我们的命令是 “不要怕”;只要遵守这个命令,我们就能克服恐惧的严重影响,并以不屈不挠的精神生活。

马太福音14:22-33记载了我们的主耶稣在水上行走的神迹。耶稣在风暴中行走在海面上,向船上的门徒走去。疲惫不堪的门徒整夜划船,惊慌地以为耶稣是鬼怪。耶稣安抚他们说:“是我,不要怕。”

彼得进一步寻求确认耶稣的身份而求耶稣叫他 “来吧”,耶稣就叫彼得这样做。彼得有足够的信心在狂暴的黑暗中踏出船外。起初,他的眼目定睛在耶稣,所以他不必担心风浪,因为他相信耶稣不会让他淹溺。当彼得专注于耶稣时,他的信心是坚定的;他知道没有什么也没有任何人比耶稣更有能力!

然而,当彼得把目光从耶稣身上移开的那一刻,他就被周围比他更强大的事物所征服。他开始沉入水中。他让自己怀疑耶稣的能力,而这种怀疑导致了对他生命的恐惧。幸好,耶稣迅速地拉住彼得的手,救了他的命!

这疫情太大,太可怕,我们无法应对。但对耶稣来说,没有什么是太大的。让我们注目在耶稣身上,而不是关注那威胁着使我们陷入绝望中的疫情。有了耶稣,风暴的主宰,我们可以有信心地走过生命中的每一个风暴。祂将在这个令人不安的时刻赐予我们平安。

据悉 “不要怕” 这个命令(或其变体)在 “圣经” 中被运用了366次(每天一个命令,包括闰年!)。上帝不想让我们度过任何一天听不到祂安慰的话 “不要怕”!

是的,我们必须尽最大努力完全遵守政府拟下的标准操作规程,包括遵守3C(避免拥挤场所、密闭空间和近距离交谈)和3W(洗手、戴口罩和听从卫生部的警告)。

但是,要克服对疫情的恐惧,最好的办法就是,本着单纯的信念,遵从我们主的命令 “不要怕”。上帝会解救祂的儿女脱离恐惧 – 只要我们把恐惧交给祂。信仰建立我们,恐惧撕裂我们!

祈祷:
我们天上的父,我们当中许多人生活在恐惧中,被焦虑和绝望的感觉所笼罩,被未解答的问题引起的担忧所扼杀。我们把心转向祢。我们知道祢是完全值得信赖的,永远不会让我们失望。我们求祢坚固我们的信心并帮助我们仰望祢,好让我们不致被淹没在绝望的波涛中,而是带着盼望兴起并站立稳定!因为我们知道,无论是在高山上还是在最深的低谷里,祢常与我们同在,永远不会离弃我们!奉耶稣的名祷告。阿们。