COVID-19 has created a surreal atmosphere of crippling, crushing or stalling fear. You can smell it in the hospitals, see it in the supermarket line-ups, and hear it in the voices of the bereaved. These are trying times. Worries are amplified by something we can’t see. And with a vaccine only a distant hope – many are scared, angry, stressed, exasperated, sad, or depressed.
Physicist and chemist, Marie Curie said, “Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Understanding more. Here are some thoughts about finding peace during COVID-19:
We’re not in control.
Fear develops when we feel we’re not in control. The truth is we were never in control – God is in control! So peace begins when we stop trying to be in control (cf. John 16:33); when we know we’re powerless and look to the all-powerful One to help us in our time of need (cf. Hebrews 4:16).
God’s on our side.
God says, “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” Isaiah 41:10. Note the phrase “do not fear, for I am with you.” With layoffs, economic uncertainty, food shortages, or mental health concerns crowding our thoughts, God wants us to know that He will provide. In the swing from contentment to grief, God will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him (cf. Romans 8:28). Hold onto this fact: God has a firm grip on us – He will keep us steady.
Two types of peace.
There are two types of peace – the world’s and God’s. The world’s definition of peace is the cessation of hostility or lack of conflict. It’s unattainable because the world and its systems are morally and spiritually flawed. The biblical definition of peace is lasting wholeness, fullness, soundness, well-being, and safety. It’s attainable because it’s a gift from God for anyone who will receive it (cf. John 14:27).
A reality check.
Peace can’t be manipulated. We can’t demand it or tell God how to dispense it. God is preparing a new heaven and a new earth for us, but until we get there we will suffer in the present (cf. Romans 8:18-27). Jesus exemplified this in His journey to the cross. He didn’t entertain a false hope that everything would be OK – nor should we. That’s not to say that peace from God is inaccessible. God is working in our waiting. Even in the midst of a pandemic God equips everyone who asks with an inner peace that surpasses all understanding (cf. Philippians 4:7).
Turning to God.
There’s no such thing as peace apart from God. To conquer fear we must know the Prince of Peace (cf. Isaiah 9:6). Being at peace with others and ourselves is only possible when we know peace with God. Author and pastor, Jack Wellman says, “No one can have the peace of God until they are at peace with God.”
Becoming a peacemaker.
Will we be His peacemakers (cf. Matthew 5:9)? Jesus calls us to peace, and then when we have it, He calls on us to make it. To be peacemakers we must foster empathy and concern for others. We must also invest time, have realistic expectations, care for ourselves, and do what we’re capable of doing.
Helping children find peace.
Here are some practical ways to help children find peace:
- Invite them to verbalize their fears
- Don’t trivialize their worries or concerns
- Listen with compassion
- Confront when necessary
- Explain what peace is
- Encourage Scripture memorization of one or more of these verses – Exodus 14:13, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23:4, Psalm 27:1, Psalm 91:11, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 41:13, John 14:27, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 5:7
- Read Bible stories where Jesus exemplifies peace, e.g. Matthew 8:23-27
- Sing songs that proclaim peace, e.g. Peace Like A River https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6085sLXCMs
- Watch videos that explore the core meaning of biblical peace and how it all leads to Jesus, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLYORLZOaZE
- Share how God is personally helping you find peace
- Connect with Christians who will provide support and encouragement
- Speak words of comfort and hope over your children
- Discuss ways you as a family can help others find peace
- Pray together
The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace. While we can’t control what’s happening around us, we can ask God to change what’s happening in us. God can do it! “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 2 Peter 1:2.
© Scripture Union, 2020