During this coronavirus pandemic, when we are all thrust into a situation and scenarios we have personally never seen before, it can be easy to get carried along by the PANIC of the PANdemIC and to become afraid, anxious, discouraged, and depressed.
If you are a Christian, this is the time when you need to dig into the Word, remember His promises, and deepen your faith. Now is the time to deepen your prayer life, enter into solitude and silence, and listen for that still, small Voice.
As I was reading the first two chapters of Luke the other day, I came across three identical statements in three different situations. Each statement came from an angel. Whenever you see Scripture in a group of three, it’s significant and we need to sit up and take notice. It’s as if the Author is bolding, italicizing, and underlining the text for us.
Three times an angel says, “Don’t be afraid!” Each of these three gives a different reason to not be afraid. And then I also want to share two more phrases after that: “Don’t be anxious!” and “Don’t be discouraged!”
ONE: DON’T BE AFRAID! YOUR PRAYER HAS BEEN HEARD!
But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.”Luke 1:13 NLT
Flex your prayer muscles during this crazy time and expect that God hears, He sympathizes, He understands, and He will answer. Your prayer has been heard.
TWO: DON’T BE AFRAID! YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD!
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!”Luke 1:30 NLT
Not only does our God hear our prayers, but He favors us. We have found favor with God. Not because of anything we have done, but just because He loves us.
THREE: DON’T BE AFRAID! I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS TO SHARE!
…but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”Luke 2:10 NLT
Because we know that God hears our prayers and favors us, we have good news to share. And that good news, when people take it heart, brings joy. Share that good news. People are more receptive during times like these.
FOUR: DON’T BE ANXIOUS! KNOW THAT JESUS IS STILL ABOUT HIS FATHER’S BUSINESS AND IN HIS FATHER’S HOUSE (US, THE CHURCH)!
When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”Luke 2:48-49 NIV
Anxiety is just a breath away during trying times such as these. Jesus replies to his parents, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” A footnote in the translation says it can also read as: “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?”
Jesus is still going about His Father’s business and is still active in His church, even when it meets over livestream, Zoom, or Facebook live. He is still at work in us!
FIVE: DON’T BE DISCOURAGED! WE ARE STILL IN THE BUSINESS OF BRINGING LIGHT, LIFE, AND PEACE TO THE WORLD!
…to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,Luke 1:79 NLT
and to guide us to the path of peace.
Now more than ever the church is still in the business of giving light to those who sit in darkness, bringing life to those in the shadow of death, and guiding people to the path of peace. Jesus brings hope and peace in the midst of turmoil and depression.
So don’t be afraid, don’t be anxious, and don’t be discouraged. Your prayers are heard, you’ve found favor with God, and you have good news to share. And Jesus is still going about His Father’s business, and His business is also our business: to bring light, life, and peace to those around us.