Fear can paralyze us. I remember watching a video of the bombs exploding at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. I was amazed as I watched the people’s reactions near the explosions.
Most people ran away from the explosions. A loud boom…smoke…sirens…yelling. A natural response would be to run away. People sought safety as far away from danger as their legs would take them.
Not everyone was running away from danger. Several people ran to the explosion. Most of them were in uniform. Policeman, firemen, a handful of marathon participants, and some from the crowd ran into the fray. They were either trained for the situation or had a surge of courage that overtook them. They began helping the hurting, calling for back-up, using their shirts or whatever they could find to apply pressure to the wounds of the hurting.
It is the third group of people that caught my attention. They were not running from danger. They were not running to help someone. They were not running at all. They were paralyzed with fear. They heard the same noises, encountered the same smells, and saw the same carnage; yet, they froze.
Fear can do that. Fear can paralyze us. It can render us incapable of helping ourselves or anyone else.
COVID-19 exploded and has scared us. The same responses listed above are happening on a national scale. The vast majority of people responded by seeking safety from the virus. They ran home. Nothing wrong with this response. It was the safe thing to do.
Others, like doctors, nurses, and first responders ran into the fray. They are courageous. They are trained for this. They are making sacrifices and helping the hurting.
Unfortunately, some froze.
We are a few weeks into this crisis. The threat is not over, but the smoke is beginning to clear. Hopefully, fear is losing its grip. If that is not the case for you, I do not think less of you. Instead, I would like to encourage you. Look at what God’s word promises:
The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? (Psalm 27:1)
David wrote these words. He was hiding in a cave. That’s right, the guy who killed the giant was hiding in a cave because someone was trying to kill him. He ran to a safe place, he gathered himself, and put his focus on God. He remembered who the Lord was…his light and his salvation. He goes on to write…
My heart will not be afraid…I remain confident…(Psalm 27:3)
There is nothing wrong with running to safety when afraid. There is no shame in being paralyzed by fear. The only thing we should aim to avoid is staying afraid. Put your focus on God. The same God that strengthened David’s heart and restored his confidence is available to you.
Here is a song that has been encouraging me. May it do the same for you.