Praying Through Coronavirus

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Love in a time of fear


 This week, as we reflect on God’s Word amidst the chaos of Coronavirus, we’ll be praying into a different dimension of this complex crisis each day. 


Together we’re going to address the themes of connection in a time of isolation, depth in a time of distraction, courage in a time of containment, hope in a time of hype and breath in a time of death, beginning today with Christ’s invitation to love in a time of fear


Everywhere I look right now I encounter fear. The news is scary. There is fear in peoples’ eyes. But the apostle John says that God’s ‘perfect love drives out fear’. The Greek word for driving out here is ballei. It’s the same word used of Jesus driving out the money-lenders from the temple, and casting demons out of the oppressed. 


It’s forceful. Love doesn’t just soothe our fear. It isn’t polite. There is a violence about the way it kicks terror out of our hearts and minds. It’s important to face the facts, even when they are scary, but even more important to focus on the ultimate and enduring reality of God’s love.


Pause and pray


Remembering the way that Jesus had compassion upon Mary even from the cross, I think now of people who are particularly fearful at this time - the elderly, the unwell and those without work - presenting each one to Christ on the cross and entrusting them to his love.


Pause and pray


A story is told of the Apostle John who wrote these words. In old age they would carry him from place to place, church to church, barely breathing, the last remaining connection on earth with the human Son of God. And whenever he arrived anywhere crowds would gather to hear and see him speak. 


With great effort he would sit up on his stretcher, and the room would fall silent, hushed in eager anticipation. ‘Love one another’ he would cry. ‘Love one another’. He would then lie down. His three-word sermon was over. And he’d be carried to the next congregation. ‘In the end,’ as one gnarly old saint said, ‘the only thing that will matter is how well you loved’. 


How might I drive fear from another person’s life today, by the simple power of love?


Pause and pray


At this time of so much fear I take hold of God’s promise in Isaiah 43 finding courage in this beautiful assurance for the day to come: 


Hear the Word of the Lord


‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,

and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.’