The days of Covid-19 have done what pressures and trials are designed to do — they are revealing our hearts. This circumstance, which is the most unusual situation any of us has ever experienced, is revealing whether we are fearful of the situation, anxious about what might yet happen, content and confident in God to care for us, angry about what we have lost, despondent or depressed about what has changed, or joyfully anticipating how God is using and will use these days for our own good and for the progress of the gospel.
Those varied responses demonstrate that our problem is not what is happening outside of us, but what is going on inside of us — within our hearts. That’s why Jesus commanded the disciples the way He did on the night when He would be tried and then go to the cross — a night when the 12 would be tempted to think they had lost everything. He told them, “Do not let (stop letting!) your heart be troubled…” (Jn. 14:1). Their problem was not an interpretive and worship problem — they wanted something so badly (their object of worship) that when it was taken away, they moved into agitated fear.
That is exactly what some of us have also done in the past month. We have worshipped something that when it was taken away, we responded with attitudes and actions of anger, fear, anxiety, loneliness, or depression.
But as our Savior told the disciples, there is hope for us when we lose what we want. To help you with some of those less-than-godly emotions, let me point you to just a few helpful resources produced by GBC and our counseling ministry, as well as a couple of particularly helpful resources (books and booklets) outside our ministry:
A few key biblical passages for key topics:
- Exalted God: Pss. 27, 34, 37, 42-43, 63, 121, 139
- Joy: Philippians (e.g., 1:21; 4:1-3, 8-9)
- Fear of God: Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 1 Pt. 2:17; Eph. 5:17-21
- Fear/Anxiety: Mt. 6:25-34; John 14-17; 1 Pt. 5:6-9
- Perseverance 1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 6:9; 2 Thess. 3:13; Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12
- Controlling the mind: Eph. 4:22-24; Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 3:1-3
- Suffering: Job, James 1:2-4; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 10:13
- Sovereignty of God in history: Gen. 37-45 (esp. ch. 45); 50:15-21; Dan. 4
- Heaven: Phil. 1:21; John 14:1-6; 1 Pt. 5:6-11; Rev. 21-22;
- Desire for God/Christ: Col. 3:1ff; Psalms
- Communication — Proverbs on tongue; Js. 3:1ff; Eph. 4:28-32
- Conflict resolution (repentance and forgiveness) — 2 Cor. 7:11; Lk. 17:3ff; Eph. 4:25-32;
- Loving others: John 13:34-35; 1 Jn. 4