There are so many Scriptures that have ministered to me through the pandemic. My Bible is my lifeblood in ‘normal’ life and more so in this time of uncertainty. Verses like,* “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31); “And we know that all things work out for the good” (Romans 8:28); “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3) and “What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good” (Genesis 50:20) have ministered to me.
So, with the Lord’s help and his Bible, I was able to rise above fear right away and was doing well. I was not fearfully hoarding food or hoarding toilet paper. I was taking precautions and not fearing about my health. But a few weeks in, and I don’t know if you remember this too, the grocery stores were doing fine until something happened to the food and supply chain. When the news came out that the food chain was in jeopardy after all, it hit me. It ended up being in the news for only a couple days before the government stepped in and bought from the farmers to give to food banks.
But that first night, hearing the news, it hit me. What I heard was alarming. I went to bed with it quietly on my mind. We had been hearing a lot of fearful things and I was holding up under it without being paralyzed. But in the middle of the night (and isn’t that when fear is magnified?) I woke up with a start, washed over with fear and panic. How fragile our food chain is! How fragile our whole economy is. How fast our society can go from prosperity to empty grocery shelves.
Why was I afraid? My husband, Karl, and I have three grown children and their families. I hate the possibility of my four grandchildren without food. I could not bear the thought. So, I did what I often do with my thoughts. It’s one of my good habits that I recommend. Whatever I am thinking at the moment, I turn it into prayer. Prayers of thanksgiving, healing, protection and provision. So, I turned my panicked fear into prayers for protection and provision for my family and for our country. It took longer than normal to calm down. These are not normal times. What if something worse is up ahead? I didn’t get much sleep. But I did a lot of praying.
In my morning devotions, I opened up my Bible to turn to what I had been reading in Matthew, but my Bible opened up to Psalm 37. I started at the beginning of chapter 37, thinking I’ll read this Psalm before I move over to where I left off in Matthew yesterday. And as I read, God spoke directly to my specific need. The whole chapter ministered to me, especially verses 18-19, “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care. In times of disaster they will not wither. in days of famine they will enjoy plenty” and verses 25-26, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely, their children will be a blessing.”
In that moment, I felt so much love from God. He loved me so much that he would speak directly to my personal fears. He matched his word with my need. He assured me one more time how the Bible is his living word. The Bible is not like a book in the library or on my bookshelf. It is his life-giving Word. So, I praise God for his love and the gift of prayer. I praise God for his Word that spoke peace to my fear in the pandemic.
If you have never put your faith in God through Jesus Christ, or if you have wandered away, I encourage you to pray. God is listening and welcoming you even in this moment. As you pick up his Bible, he will speak directly to your need too.
What Scripture has ministered to you during this pandemic?
*Verses have been paraphrased.
Dr. Anita Eastlack is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.