In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, author and pastor Max Lucado took on social media to encourage us not to panic. Rather, our faith should be in God. Lucado's words have never been more timely as the number of novel coronavirus cases has topped 152,000 in 141 countries and territories with 5,720 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Lucado writes: "We find ourselves in a sober moment. These are uncertain times around the world and fears are rising. People who have never felt anxious before are suddenly weighed down with worry and are not sure what to do next.
Do you need encouragement right about now? Are you feeling anxious and uncertain? Do you find yourself in a season of isolation as events cancel, schools shift online, and churches close their doors to large gatherings?
When I need to stay calm, I turn to this Scripture: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:6-7, NIV).
Everything is being cancelled...NBA games, NHL games, March Madness, Broadway shows, flights, cruises...cancellations everywhere! Can I tell you the one thing that has not and will not be cancelled? God will never cancel his promise to take care of us!
Do not interpret the presence of problems as the absence of God. God has promised...never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. He is with us, he is for us, and he offers us peace in the face of uncertainty and hope in exchange for heaviness.
The question of this crisis is simply this: What is God saying to us?
Among the answers must be this promise from Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all of you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest." Turn to Him today."
Lucado is a best-selling author and writer and preacher at Oak Hills Church (formerly the Oak Hills Church of Christ) in San Antonio, Texas. Lucado has written more than 50 books with 65 million copies in print, including three recipients of the Charles "Kip" Jordon Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year (Just Like Jesus, In the Grip of Grace, and When God Whispers Your Name), and has appeared regularly on several bestseller lists.