• BettyJo Keenan

Why I'm Not Afraid

To be honest, I actively avoid the daily news even when not in the midst of a global pandemic. From what I hear, watching the news these days is an invitation to sow the seeds of fear in your mind and heart. I want to take this opportunity to share why I am not afraid, and why you shouldn't be either:

Our God has promised to be with us in the midst of disaster. He says through the prophet Isaiah:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2 ESV

Consider the case of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were three boys born in Judea after the time of Isaiah's ministry as a prophet. They would have learned God's law and prophecies from the priests in the temple. Unfortunately for them, King Nebuchadnezzar came and took them captive to Babylon after conquering, but not destroying, Jerusalem in 605 B.C. As part of their training and indoctrination into Babylonian culture, their names were subsequently changed to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And now, you may realize that you're familiar with these Jewish young men. These were the "certain Jews" who decided not to pay attention to the King's edict to bow down to the golden image he had set up, even under threat of being thrown into the burning, fiery furnace. I think they knew the promise in Isaiah and took it at face value. When confronted with King Nebuchadnezzar's edict, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'" Daniel 3:16‭-‬18 ESV

Those who know the story are aware that God does in fact rescue them unsinged from the flaming furnace. He was even with them in the midst of the furnace:

[King Nebuchadnezzar] answered and said, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods."

Daniel 3:25 ESV

God kept His promise to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. He is every bit as able to keep His promise to you and me.

I'm not sure how many people understand that all this social distancing is intended only to flatten the curve and NOT to actually rescue you from contracting the virus that causes COVID-19. The logic behind flattening the curve is to keep the number of very sick within the levels at which our medical system can actually care for them. So, yes, I expect to someday contract COVID-19, but I know that my God will be with me in the midst of it. And even if I were to die of it (which I consider extremely unlikely in my case), I will not bow to fear because my life is in God's hands.

(I will add as a side note that there are people I know and love who probably would not survive this virus, which is why I pray for slowed transmission and the accelerated development of an effective vaccine so they too can weather this storm.)

As a final admonishment, consider the words of Jesus, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27 ESV. So, let us have peace, even when we must go (or stay) where we do not wish and endure what we would never choose.




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