Thoughts on Omicron & the Fearful-Hearted

News of a new COVID variant, named Omicron, has gripped the attention of the media, America, and the world. Headlines are calling for new travel bans and the stock market was shaken as fears of the economic impact made investors anxious. NBC announced frighteningly, “It’s Coming: NY Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Potential Omicron Spike.” The BBC worries “New Covid Variant: Will new measures against Omicron work?”

I believe COVID has exposed a number of corruptions in my own heart and the hearts of my fellow-Christians. For this we should repent, and be thankful. The Lord uses afflictions (including sickness and disease) to expose in our hearts numerous sins that would otherwise have been left uncovered. When we grow deaf to the Word of God, and refuse to renew our minds according to Scripture, He sometimes sends hard Providences into our world to bring to the surface certain sins that we might not be dealing with as we should.

Maybe the biggest sin, but probably not the only one, that has been exposed in our hearts is the sin of fear. Fear, anxiety, worry are all serious sins to the Lord according to the Bible. We tend to think worry is just a small problem, hardly even worth calling a sin. God calls it sin. Over and over again we are told by the Lord to not be afraid. “Fear not, for I am with you (Is 41:10)” is one of the great themes of Isaiah, but is really in some ways a theme of the entire Bible. “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, be strong and do not fear (Isaiah 35:4).” Jesus frequently had to rebuke His disciples with “Why are you so fearful?” and it would seem He needs to rebuke us for this as well.

The fact is that nothing about COVID should scare the Christian. Nothing. Not sickness. Not hospitalization. Not loss of work. Not discomfort. Not vaccine mandates. Not new variants. Not government overstepping. Not even death. Nothing. “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil 4:6) is the clear commandment of the Bible. Nothing means what it says: No thing!

But the news says this could be really bad? But the Bible says, “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings (Psalm 112:7).”

But what about the impact this may have on my job, my family, my life? But the Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed… (Psalm 46:1-2).”

But I can’t stop thinking about it? But the Bible says, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Col 3:15).”

But I might die from COVID or from the vaccine! But the Bible says, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life (Matt 6:25).”

You see, God does not make an exception about the sin of fearfulness in the case of global pandemics. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7). We are not to be fearful Christians. We need this reminder. One of the greatest examples of faith, Abraham himself, needed to hear this, and so do we. “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward (Gen 15:1).

APPLICATION

First, and foremost, let us repent of our sinful fears. Fear of sickness, calamity, economic collapse, government over stepping, and even death is a great offense to the Lord. Let us not play the soft hand with our sin. Let us not excuse it any more by giving it more pleasant names like “concern” and “carefulness.” Let us look down deep in our own hearts, and with the help of God’s Spirit, repent of our sin of fear.

Second, live courageously for the Lord. There is a boldness which every Christian should exhibit. “The righteous are as bold as a lion (Prov 28:1).” Spurgeon says “Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven.” Now, if ever, is a time for courageous Christian living.

Third, let’s not be foolish though. I have heard well-meaning Christians say some very foolish things in the midst of this pandemic. They have imagined it really doesn’t exist at all. That it is all made up. That this is simply a bad “flu” year, and other such nonsense. This is simply an attempt to foster courage by way of lies and fancy. The Christian’s courage does not come from ignoring facts, but rather in gazing more upon the Great Fact, our Father in Heaven.

Finally, nothing said here should excuse Christians from taking reasonable steps to stay safe. The 6th commandment forbids the taking of innocent life, including our own. Reckless endangerment of your life is the same as the sin of murder. J.C. Ryle had some wise words here “the servant of Christ is not to run into danger unless it comes in the line of duty. He is not ashamed to use reasonable means to provide for his personal safety when no good is done by dying at his post.”

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