I used to work for the athletic marketing and promotions office at Fresno State University. One of my duties was to help coordinate the promotions and in-game marketing for football and basketball. During a game with thousands of people watching, things can go wrong. When bad things happen, one of the cardinal rules for event managers is to never panic. A calm mind makes better decisions. Most of the time, slight adjustments that nobody ever sees can avert major catastrophes that everybody sees.
I have applied this rule countless times throughout twenty years of outreach ministry.
And perhaps it could be applied for us today.
Never panic… especially for those who trust in Christ’s promises.
A recent trip to a grocery store is a good way to gauge public anxiety.
Selfish hoarding and overflowing grocery carts exhibit a lack of trust in our government system, our leaders, and each other.
Even though cracks may exist in our society and there is a warring divide in politics, a foundation still exists and there are good leaders to help us pull through this public health crisis.
It’s going to be okay if people don’t panic.
But I think we are all arriving at the same conclusion that life is going to be different now. In the same way lives were adjusted after 9/11, our daily lives will be transformed but probably on a grander scale. In place of intensifying security measures, changing travel habits, and concerns about domestic terrorism, we may have intensified efforts in viral screening, immunization, and changing our public habits.
And this is not including the effect this pandemic will have on our economy.
It is during the darkest times that lights shine the brightest.
A life in Christ never panics.
The object of a Christian faith rests in what Christ has already done and what he promises to do.
The storms of life – even viral hurricanes – cannot wash away a house that is built on the rock of Christ.
A redeemed life in Christ that is fully received by faith rests securely in Christ’s promise that heaven is secure. Their name is in the book of Life.
A redeemed life in Christ that is fully received by faith accepts the reality that God has placed them on this earth for a purpose. This day in history has been ordained for a believer in Christ to fulfill God’s purpose – to declare his glory – to make his Name known.
Therefore, a proper Christian response can mean exercising a dual citizenship in Christ.
A believer in Christ exercises their citizenship in this world that God created, dearly loves, and desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. All people who trust in him have been set apart before the creation of the world (Eph. 1:4), to not be of this world, but be salt and light in this world to proclaim of his message of Good News.
With one foot in the world, those who trust in God’s promises, can courageously exhibit grace amid panic. They can visit grocery stories to get what they need but be willing to give away what they possess to help a person in need. They can boldly take advantage of every opportunity the Lord provides to give reasons for the hope, peace, and confidence they have in Christ.
A life in Christ never panics but embraces difficulties in life as a blessing from God. He often uses challenges to deepen our trust in him. Secure in Christ, confident that God’s hand is in all things, challenges dissipate into opportunities to share Truth to a more receptive audience.
With one foot in the world and one foot resting in God’s promises, believers can be casual observers by viewing life in the third person. They insert their own name in lieu of God’s promises by saying to themselves:[Insert name] is fully assured because Jesus tells me that he has overcome the world. [Insert name] is fully at peace because Jesus tells me he is the resurrection and the life. [Insert name] has sure hope because Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so.
We can pray,
“O Lord, thank you for your mercy and grace. Fill me up with your presence and the fruits of your Spirit today. That I may live for you and not for myself. When doubt, fear, and concern rises up within me, may you flush them out with your good promises. Since I live, you live in me. Since I live, you direct me to live for you. May I seize upon every opportunity to exhibit peace and hope in my words and actions, but more importantly, verbally provide reasons why my hope is in you. During this time of turmoil and looming change, may I cling to you as the changeless One who has already secured my place in heaven. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”