This blog post in our COVID-19 series is written by my close friend, Chaplain Cindy Simpson, a member of CCPC and a Denver Seminary Professor
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord God will be with you wherever you go.”
A Paralyzing Fear
Here we are in March 2020 – not faced with an enemy with guns, but by an invisible virus we cannot see. And yet, the fear is palpable all around us. I am not immune.
As a chaplain, I have the privilege of serving at a Senior Adult Retirement Community here in the Denver metro. Our residents, most over the age of 75, are among the most vulnerable to Covid 19. And so, we have initiated protocols and processes to try to keep them safe. We prepare, we pray, and we implement.
But one day this past week, I was utterly paralyzed by fear. I literally could not go into work. In my journal that day I wrote,
“I am not afraid of getting sick or even dying. I’m not afraid of the stock market crashing or losing my job. I’m not afraid of running out of food, nor am I afraid of something happening to my out-of-state family. I am, however, irrationally terrified of catching this crazy virus and unknowingly carrying it into my community of older adults, thereby unintentionally harming the very ones I am called to love and shepherd. Do I have a cold, the flu, or a deadly virus — or none of the above? How can I know?”
A Time For Courage
It takes time and effort to be still, to settle ourselves, meditate on the truth of God’s Word, and pray. It required me reaching out to my closest friends and asking for prayer. In times like this, we need our community.
We have all heard the call to not live and get stuck in fear – but rather to live by faith in the God who has promised to be with us. The next step beyond the fear and faith, is to begin to walk out our trust in God with courage – to take action.
Displaying courage will look differently for all of us. It will mean listening and responding to the instructions of our government leaders. It will require us to be vigilant and to follow safe practices. For many, we are being called to remain indoors, but for some that is not an option. For those, like me, serving in essential care-giving capacities, we are required on the front lines. And so, we go.
But for all us, I encourage you to be creative. Reach out your heart. Be strong and courageous. Think of ways to serve your neighbors and your community. I have one friend who can’t get out, but who is preparing to sew masks for our hospital personnel. Some of you can shop for others when you are out. There are many senior adults in this city who are alone who need help with all sorts of chores. Food banks and homeless shelters desperately need money. Church, let’s open our eyes and be courageous.
Father, we begin by proclaiming that you are the Lord God Almighty, the ruler of all heaven and earth. You are in control even when it feels like everything around us is out of control. Jesus, in you all things are held together. By faith, we are in you, Jesus, and you are in us. Our lives, our bodies, our families, and our resources all belong to you Lord Jesus. Holy Spirit, you convict us, you comfort us, and you empower us to live with courage. We submit our lives to you and ask you to guard our hearts and our minds. Father in Heaven, please give us wisdom as we seek to act with courage, love and compassion. Amen.
May God grant us the wisdom to know what is right and good, the will to choose it, and the strength to make it endure. Peace be with you.