How many of the things that have worried you almost to the point of sickness ever actually happened? We are certainly in a time when there seems to be a panic a day to concern people. If it isn’t the fear of the Corona Virus, it is that the stock market is going up and down every day over some bit of news from some other part of the world. I had to be at the hospital a few days ago for a treatment and was amazed at all the people wearing masks and when I sat down in the waiting room that probably held 75 people an employee came in to speak to all of us. Just about everyone was already sitting down but she begins by saying before you sit down you need to get one of these anticeptic sheets and wipe down your chair. Then you all need to be wearing masks. Every time you touch a door knob you need to apply sanitizer to your hands. The speech went on for about five minutes and most of us ignored the whole thing and went on as normal.
Do we live in a world of danger? Certainly, but when has that not been the case? Could some dreadful disease or horrible crime be committed against us or our family? Yes, it certainly could, but again, when has that not be true? If we live every moment in fear of catching something or having something awful happen to us, we will live a miserable life that is a far cry from peace of mind.
I think one of the reasons God had many of the stories in the Old Testament recorded for us is to remind us that in a world of danger and challenge we need to look up and I’m not talking about the government. Picture the scene in recording in 2 Kings 18-19 when Hezekiah was king of Judah. In the fourteenth year of his reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. Hezekiah gave him all the silver and gold available even stripping off the gold which covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord to give to him. But that didn’t satisfy. He sent his representative to shout out in the Hebrew language that they should stop trusting Hezekiah and give themselves to the king of Assyria. When Hezekiah heard it he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth. He sent for the prophet Amoz to pray for the remnant that still survived. The officials came to Isaiah who told them to go tell Hezekiah that “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard – those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.” Sure enough, the rumor came and the army went back to Assyria. But he sent a letter to Hezekiah saying that he would return and like all the other nations he had taken he would take Judah. Just as their gods hadn’t been able to deliver them neither would his God deliver him. Hezekiah took the letter to the temple and laid it out before the Lord and prayed to God about it. He asked God to deliver them. God sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah his prayer was answered and that God would take care of the army of Assyria and it would never set foot in Jerusalem.
That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When they arose the next morning dead bodies were all around. Sennacherib the king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, when he went to worship his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with a sword and escaped to Ararat.
Let’s face it, this is one story of a multitude of others where the people were all in a panic and everything seemed hopeless but God stepped in and the problem was solved. If we are true to the Lord and put our trust in Him we can live life in calm knowing that God is with us all the time. His Spirit lives in us and He is more powerful than any enemy that we may face. Does that mean no tragedy will ever befall us if we are true to Christ? No, but it means we will never face a tragedy alone and that even if it ends in death it is a huge win for us in that we are delivered to a life in glory with God.
It is a great time for us to remember and live by these words from Philippians 4:6-8: “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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.