Peace in the Midst of Panic (finding calm in the COVID-19 crisis)

Peace in the Midst of Panic (finding calm in the COVID-19 crisis)

How do we keep things in perspective when it seems the whole world is in a panic?  Maintaining a positive mindset, from a trusting perspective, can be a very real challenge during times like this, because panic begets panic!

Like a lava-flow, burning slowly across the landscape, smoke arises from the wake of COVID-19, reminding us of our own mortality.  As world-wide chaos ensues, personal alarm bells begin to reverberate from every fiber of our being.  When we see panic in others, our own level of fear begins to escalate.  Imaginations run wild, flashing fearful images from the mind’s phantom crystal ball.  Those images loom larger than reality, often overshadowing the boundaries of faith.  Before we know it, we begin to react in irrational ways while peace and hope are threatened.

In the stillness of this morning, I asked God to help me embrace a calmer perspective -one that would aide my own navigation throughout this chaotic journey.  This is what the whisper of God spoke over my spirit:

The truth is, nothing has really changed.

We have never been promised anything beyond the present moment.  Each new breath is not a promise; it is a gift, and every good thing comes to us by the goodness and grace of God.

– Losing Peace –

The ‘busyness’ of life can overtake us.  Our schedules demand hyper-management efforts.  Like a champion, we wrestle-down the non-stop, day-to-day challenges, leaving little or no time for quiet moments with the Spirit of God.  Ultimately, we settle into an unintentional mindset that places us in pseudo-control, inside a false illusion of certainty (“If I work hard, I will be financially secure…If I do x,y,z, I can control ‘whatever’ outcome…or…Pandemics don’t happen in wealthy/well-resourced countries.”).  From that subconsciously unfounded perspective, when trouble comes, we are easily stunned and shaken to the core.

A virulent virus invades our shores and sparks panic in the masses, crumbling our sense of false control, along with our inner peace.  We urgently understand that we need something bigger than our own best efforts.  We look to God and then proceed to worry that God will not be able to carry us through this particular challenge, because the noise around it is so loud.  We begin to sink into an abyss of fear, even though He has protected us and guided us through many times of past danger -both seen and unseen.

Hence, panic.

– Gaining Peace –

When life gets noisy, it is essential to be reminded of the truth.  Recently, when I felt tempted to shake hands with pandemic panic, my daughter reminded me of what is true by sharing this thought with me:

“When the world screams, “Panic!”, God whispers, “Have no fear.”

Those simple words rang pure, reminding me of sacred, timeless text, found in Psalm 46.  It is a formula for peace, divinely inspired, written and sung by ancient sojourners who also traveled down pathways of troubles and trials.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” 

“Be still” suggests passivity, but it is not a passive thing.  It is an active choice (over and over again).   It is a decision to keep our eyes focused on El Shaddai (God Almighty) and our minds set squarely inside a perspective of trust -not panic.  From that mindset, we have the calm clarity to hear divine guidance, which allows us to be prepared in whatever way necessary to meet the challenge of any given moment.

Then, when we are able to truly comprehend and embrace the “and know that I am God” portion of that God-breathed text, I think it is much like sitting in the box seat section of a sacred theater, expectantly watching His spectacular “show of glory”.

Instead of panicking in the streets (or cowering in the corner, nervously biting our nails, waiting for the shoe of doom to drop), we can sit in those prized box-seats, calmly confident, spell-bound, in anticipation of the wondrous, miraculous display of His hand through this chaotic time!

Psalm 46 begins like this:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

In the stillness of this morning, beautifully mysterious breaths of “knowing” landed on my receptive spirit, helping me remember what is true, guiding me toward a more peaceful perspective.  I am wishing the same for my readers.  I believe that if we can gain a crystal-clear understanding that this present day challenge is no different than any other challenge by which God Almighty has already sustained and guided us, and if we can choose to live each ‘moment-by-moment’, from a perspective of trust, we will be enabled to find rational preparedness, personal peace (in the midst of chaos), and the ability to extend that same message of peace and hope with others.

One moment at a time

Trusting God in every moment

That’s about the sum of it

It has always been the sum of it

A prayer from stillness…

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 62:5-6

Go in peace, friends.  Go in peace.

 

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