“Let’s all PANIC!”
Those of you who hang around my rarely active FB page and other social media platforms, have become accustomed to me not posting much, and not unless I think it is something that might be actually helpful.
Well, this morning I was in an email conversation with my dear friend Dr Kevin Freiberg and I want to post part of that exchange because I found it very helpful myself, and thought you might too.
First, here is what Kevin wrote:
“I’ve been thinking about the Coronavirus…
It was a far-away problem I was largely disconnected from until…
it put a huge dent in our business this week with several cancelled engagements and more likely to come.
It sucks, but it pales in comparison to those who are sick and worse, those who have lost loved ones.
Even though I give intellectual assent to the fact that I’m not, I live my life as though I’m in control until…
something like this happens and the truth becomes real.
The world is pretty stressed right now, largely because people are trying to exercise control over an uncontrollable situation.
The “breaking news” of the media feeds the frenzy, planting the assumption in our minds that one more piece of information will help us take one more step toward control until…
it doesn’t, because another person, in a new place, with the virus is discovered.
Then, it ratchets us up to a new level of panic.
But here’s the thing. If perfect love and fear cannot coexist, panic, though a strong temptation, is never effective.
Very few people look back on crises like this and say, “I wished I’d panicked more. You know, like it really helped.”
Maybe the question for the world right now, and for me personally, is: “Where are You in this and what is it about Your love that I need to understand?”
Maybe the posture should be one of expectancy, knowing that the One who calmed the wind and the waves, the Lover of life, can heal the nations, whether miraculously on His own or through the hands of others.
In the midst of my own stressful ebb and flow I hear a Voice saying…
“I’m still God. I’m still here and you are mine.
You’ve got this because I’ve got you.””
And now here is my response, which in no way is intended to correct anything but to add to what Kevin has written:
“Wonderful words and deeply true and helpful…thank you!
I also think that part of the temptation to fear and control is media immediacy…we have a sense of being a global citizen. Many of us have never learned to live and stay inside the grace of our own day, so we think we can live other’s grace for them; that by worrying on their behalf we are being helpful. “The poor you have with you always” is not Jesus dismissing the plight of the poor, but resisting the temptation to get dragged into the illusion that he, that day, was a resolution to the global issue of poverty. He chose to love the actual poor person who was in front of him, not the imagined masses of poor people who were not.
Panic is almost always future-tripping, creating disaster scenarios outside the scope of the day you find yourself. It isn’t the crisis directly and presently in front of you, but the crisis imagined and perceived to be approaching.
The back-handed grace of fear is that it exposes the idols that we actually trust; money, certainty, control, power, empire etc, and with such exposure we are given daily crossroads, crosses, that we can pick up or avoid. The choice to pick up the daily crosses that people deliver to us is the choice to remain in the day and trust. Trust is ALWAYS in the present tense. Imagining trusting in an imaginary future scenario is to leave the present (presence) where love has you, for the illusion of control under the guise of imagined trust. Joy is present tense, because presence is present tense and our ability to respond is present tense and Trinity abides with us present tense.
My verse for this year (mostly NASB with a little PY clarification) is Hebrews 3:13 En-courage (add courage) to one another, as long as it is about TODAY (emphatic Greek, all CAPS in NASB), so that you are not swept away by the deceitfulness of brokenness.” We truly don’t need to try and encourage anyone about the future because it is a myth and even the imagination of it is illusory, and there is actually no need to do so if we are in the embrace of relentless affection TODAY. TODAY is the day of wholeness and salvation, the Sabbath Rest. Sufficient to the day is the grace, the daily manna of sustenance and joy. Take no thought for tomorrow, grace will meet you in the morning.
We have so baptized worry that we have renamed it responsibility. “Then we Panic (Jackie Frieberg).”
Love you each. LOVE has you!”
And one last word from Kevin: “For me, your entire response affirms and is summed up in my prayer/desire: “I want to love You with my trust TODAY.”