It’s a beautiful morning after a brief shower last night. I am no longer excited to check the messages on my phone but as my daily ritual, I did. As I scroll through them, all the messages were about Covid-19 with shock emojis except for one message asking me if I wanted fresh local fish. I decided not let those fear and anxieties spoil my day. So, I sat at the balcony and turned my attention towards the coconut tree outside my apartment where some house sparrows have built their nest. I could hear the hungry chicks chirping while the adults fly back and forth with food. I thought to myself, isn’t it wonderful how they are less bothered about the storm, danger or food.
I believe that there is no human being alive on earth today that is not aware of the Covid-19 pandemics. As of today, there are more than one million infections, 58,000 death and 205 countries effected. Sadly, nobody seems to be interestedor excited about the recovery of 2,26,600 Covid-19 patients. To me, this is the clearest indication that there is hope. Phone messages, news channels and even conversations are flooded with fear, anxiety and stress caused by this pandemic. Infact, there is a drastic surge in the level of fear and anxiety all over the world. Nagaland is no exception. We are yet to have our firstCovid-19 infection. But as the infection and death peaked and moved from China to Europe and then to America and back to India and finally to North-east India, the level of anticipation seems to correspond with the increase in the level of fear and anxiety among the people in Nagaland.
It would be absurd for anyone to say that he or she is not concerned about the epidemics that is rampaging humanity. But if the epidemics is strapping us down by anxiety and fear, it is a serious concernfor the Naga Christians. The scripture is very clear about fear and anxiety. As children of God, we are not to be anxious or worry about anything because our heavenly Father already knows what we need. (Matthew 6:31-32) In Philippians 4:6, apostle Paul further explains how to handle worry and anxiousness in a Christian way. He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
To fear and be anxious is part of human nature. However, its consequences can be counterproductive. It does nothing good but only harm to us. By being anxious or worrying, we are reverting the very commandment of God. The scripture clearly tells us to trust God but failure to do so is to undermine the authority and power of God. Many Christians pray to God and present their request to God. But after the prayer is completed, they begin to doubt and start worrying. In other words, we are making a mockery of God’s commandment. Secondly, it’s a sign of doubt and scepticism in God. It is an indication that God is unable to take care of us. All these amounts to lack of faith and unbelief and this is sin.
The irony of Christian belief and practice is that, we pray yet we don’t trust. We confess but we do not believe. We read the Word of God but we do not practice. We are therefore faced with a serious problem; how can our hearts be filled with thanksgiving for God when we are enslaved by fear, anxiety and stress? We seriously need to introspect ourselves and see where we stand in relation to Christ. A true Christian will not have this conflict because he or she will put his and her hopes and trust in Jesus Christ. It is this hope that overcomes fears and anxiety and fills us with joy and peace in the midst of turmoil and suffering.
The Bible makes it clear that worrying, anxiety and stress are all part of this world. No human being is free from it. But we have the power to choose how we deal with it. We can either be a slave of it or master over it through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can channel the inner turmoil and pain that worry brings into our lives and use it motivate us to present our needs to God. Through faith, we can put our trust in God, believing that He will navigate us through the storm of life because he loves and cares for us. (I Peter 5:6-7) As Paul writes again in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Therefore, let us not be shaky like the unbelievers do but let us remain firm in our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the anchor of our hope in every situation.
Dr. Imna Imchen, Center for Christian Discipleship and Evangelism (CCDE)
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