In one split second, I went from peace to panic. I felt like my lungs were being compressed, making it almost impossible to speak. One word at a time, that’s all I could force out. Fear of the Corona virus beckoned for me to take it’s hand. Fear was an old familiar enemy. It had taken me years to break free from it’s grip. It screamed, “I’m baaaack!” But this time, I knew where to turn. Or rather, Whom I needed to turn to.
I’d come to the makeshift clinic to be tested for strep. I’d been exposed, and I just couldn’t seem to shake the symptoms. I waited in my car for my turn. When it came, I put the mask on that I’d been given. I stepped into the building. Up until that second, I hadn’t been experiencing breathing difficulties. Now it felt like all the air was being squeezed from my lungs. I knew instantly that this was spiritual, not physical. After I was finally able to give my information, one word at a time, I began to quote scripture under my mask:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
“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.”
“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
It didn’t take long before I could breathe normally again. As I continued to whisper scriptures under my breath, I heard one of the nurses say she was having a hard time breathing. I’ve begun to hear similar stories of panic and difficulty breathing that is hitting people from seemingly out of nowhere. As I began to look into this, I began to discover that this isn’t an isolated thing. People around the globe are having similar experiences.
I’m not a medical profession, and I don’t presume to give medical counsel. What I can say is this: If a person is feeling fear and panic, they are having a spiritual and an emotional experience. He or she may or may not be dealing with a physical component to their experience. But even if they are, that is a separate problem from fear/panic. These are two separate problems. We can send the fear and panic packing. Then, IF there is a physical problem going on, we can address it without fear having a voice.
Practical tips for overcoming fear and panic:
Keep a few scriptures with you that you can use to combat fear. The word of God is powerful and comforting. It sends fear running. Thinking scripture has value, but speaking it when you’re afraid is like a spiritual atomic bomb. If I could leave you with just one spiritual weapon, this would be it. It’s power cannot be overstated. We need to take this from a metaphor and make it into a practice. It works!
Identify where fear-inducing words are coming your way. It may be the news. If this is the case, look for news sources that are less likely to stimulate fear. Some are better than others at this. Also, limit how much news you feed your mind with.
Fear inducing words may also be coming from people who are afraid. If they’re stirring up fear-filled conversations, you may need to ask them to stop. Sometimes changing the subject is all that is needed.
Another way to overcome fear is by praying before going into places that tend to be fear hotbeds. Right now, medical facilities and grocery stores are a common place where fear tends to manifest. Both patients and medical staff are facing extremely challenging circumstances. There’s long hours, shortages of staff and supplies, scared patients and fear of sickness. Even seeing people in medical masks can stimulate fear.
Grocery shoppers are also being bombarded with visuals that can be scary…empty shelves, other customers with overflowing carts. The truth is, over-flowing carts are nothing new. Some people who have large families have been doing this for years. But right now, assumptions are sometimes made that people are filling their carts because they’re preppers. And that can tempt onlookers to buy more than is needed out of fear. The problem isn’t full carts or empty shelves. The problem is this: Our faith is being tried right now. In this season, it can be an act of faith to buy what we need, not what fear tells us we should buy.
If you do need to go to a medical facility or to the grocery store, go spiritually filled up. Turn on some worship music, read a scripture or spend some time in prayer before going.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)