As the coronavirus death toll rises and the world responds with curfews, government shutdowns, school, and business closures, and emergency aid, fear is on the rise. Many of us not only fear what is but also what could be: Will I get the virus? Will my child, parent, or other loved one become infected or die?
What about the economy or the impact on local businesses? Will I lose my job? Can my retirement account survive? Will we see another Great Depression? For some, even deeper fears begin to spiral as worry builds about food-hoarding, price-gouging, looting, and the possibility of a long-term police state. But take heart: God knows our deepest fears, even the ones we cannot speak aloud, and His holy Word, the Bible, offers a host of comforting verses to bring peace in the center of our distress.
What Does the Bible Say about Fear and Peace for the Christian?
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For those who follow Jesus Christ, we can take comfort in one critical, all-important truth: We are children of the Lord, “born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:13). Indeed, we belong to God. For in Jesus, we have eternal life, and nothing on this earth can prevent that (John 3:16, John 5:24).
Because of this, we don’t need to worry. The word “fear” appears more than 300 times in most English-language translations of the Bible. Most of those references involve God assuring us—through Jesus, through His prophets, through songs and stories and more—that we are safe with Him.
Matthew 10:28 tells us plainly, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
That is, the only proper fear we should have is a healthy, respectful, loving fear of the almighty and awesome power of God, and we can rest easy knowing we are His children and loved by Him. This leads us to what we should experience as God’s precious children: a true and unrelenting sense of peace. The word “peace” also appears hundreds of times throughout the Bible.
As Jesus tells His disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Here, then, are verses of reassurance to cling to during this pandemic.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”—Isaiah 41:10
Here, God reassures His people that not only will He help them through their trials with Babylon, but they will be delivered from all troubles through the promised Messiah. I am with you, I am your God, and I will help you, He tells us—in the coronavirus, in persecution, in everything.
2. Do Not Be Anxious
“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.”—Philippians 4:6-7
Here, the apostle Paul assures Christians the proper response to any situation is to pray to God for help. When we give God our fears, we receive an abiding peace in return.
3. Do Not Worry
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”—Matthew 6:34
God calls His people to a “Kingdom mentality,” in which we focus our faith and hope on Him and His ability to handle all our needs. Jesus tells us simple creatures like birds do not worry about the future, and God takes perfectly good care of them. Why should we, His children, expect anything less? We are loved by God, and we don’t need to worry about what will happen to our bodies, our family, the economy, or any other earthly concerns. We just need to trust God and be at peace that our daily concerns are covered.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”—2 Timothy 1:7
We are filled with a powerful, loving, self-controlled spirit, given to us as children of God by the Lord Himself. This is not a spirit that bends to the chaos of panic but one that rises up in the name of God Almighty to do His work and help His people.
5. Whom Shall I Fear?
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”—Psalm 27:1
Here, David puts full confidence in God’s utter authority and ability to protect him. It’s a powerful verse to hold in our hearts when we’re tempted to worry about the coronavirus or any other trouble we face. We can have total peace, for God is in control.
6. Later You Will Understand
“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”—John 13:7
This was spoken by Jesus to His disciples after He washed their feet, reassuring them that even though they cannot see it, there is a divine plan, and all is well. We might not see the big picture when it comes to the coronavirus, but God is in charge and has a plan. As His children, we can have peace in the midst of it.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28
As Christians, we know God works in all things, good and bad. For us, His children, He can transform things meant for evil and chaos (even the coronavirus!) into good, furthering His heavenly Kingdom here on earth.
8. Be Strong and Courageous
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9
Here, God reassures a frightened Joshua that, even though the situation appears dire, He will fight Israel’s battles with and for them as they enter the Promised Land. Today, we can cling to this verse knowing God offers the same promise to His children when it comes to the coronavirus: Don’t be scared. I’m with you.
9. Jesus Has Overcome the World
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”—John 16:33
In this section of John, Jesus is preparing His disciples for His impending mission to leave this world and reunite with the Father. The disciples do not know exactly what this entails yet, but they cherished these words after the resurrection. Coronavirus or no, we are wrapped in the safe, protective, and loving arms of Jesus. The world might offer us trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. And through Him, so have we.
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”—Revelation 21:4
This destruction of the last enemy, death, will come in God’s ordained time. Until then He watches over creation, and His people, He holds close. He is near not far, He knows your sorrow, and He is your High Priest who swallowed up death and rose from the grave. One day there will be a renewal of the entire created order, a new heaven and earth will be brought forth or transformed by God’s hands and voice and this new place will know no sin.
God will reverse the curse of sin; the curse which has spread over everything in creation bringing with it disease, destruction, and suffering. But Jesus has overcome the world, He has overcome sin and death, and He has secured your place in the refuge of God Almighty. He will wipe away every tear on that day and suffering and sickness will be no more.
When all seems dark and lost, when we begin to lose hope and tremble beneath our fear, we can have peace in the light and hope of Jesus. One day, suffering will end, and God will wipe away our tears. We are safe with Him. Have courage and take comfort in these promises from God. He is far more powerful than any virus, and we belong to Him.
Listen to these prayers for comfort:
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team. Learn more at https://jessicabrodie.com.