Mailbag

The Mailbag: Quelling Your Quarantine Anxiety

 

I just wanted to say, I appreciate all that you do! I love visiting your page regularly because I have found it to be a trustworthy, biblical source.

My heart is aching to be with my church family and worship together. I’ve been BEGGING God to give pastors and elders the courage to open the doors again. I completely understand that there are several interpretations of Romans 13 and what that looks like in our current situation. I do know that the virus is a real threat and many are fearful. I do. 

The areas I’m struggling with are:

  • Would/when would civil disobedience be OK?
  • All the things that go along with isolation/lockdown: depression, suicide, domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, economic crash resulting in more death and poverty, etc.
  • I see an inconsistency with believers inviting families and friends over to their homes (breaking the mandate) and yet saying that in order to uphold Romans 13 we ought to keep the church closed.
  • I look around at my fellow believers that seem to be totally content with “watching church” every week and are in no hurry to get back.
  • I’m in distress that my [young] children are growing up thinking this is normal.

I’m just trying to figure it all out and wondered if you had any light to shed on the situation. My spirit has been SO unsettled. I’m not sure if you’ve already seen this [podcast episode by a doctrinally sound theologian], but this is probably the most biblical piece that I’ve come across. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate your passion on this issue. Some of your concerns were answered in my article The Mailbag: Why no COVID weigh-in?. Here are my thoughts on your questions and comments above;

• I totally understand your feelings about wanting to get back to church. I feel the same way, and I think most genuinely regenerated Believers would agree.

• Have you and your husband sat down and discussed all of your feelings about the issues? I know it always helps me to process my thoughts and unburden myself by talking things out with my husband.

• Have you talked to your husband about the possibility of discussing all of these things with your pastor? He can probably help alleviate some of your concerns or at least provide you with information about your own church and situation.

• I’m sensing that you’re experiencing a bit of anxiety over this issue, and it sounds like a lot of your concerns have to do with the way other people are acting and thinking. Can I make a few suggestions that may help you to be more at peace?

· Stop worrying about what other people are thinking, saying, and doing about all of these issues. That’s not a burden God has called you to carry. I don’t want to be so blunt as to say, “Mind your own business,” but keeping your focus on managing your own household and family will go a long way to reducing your anxiety about this.

· Get off social media and stop watching the news. You won’t be able to worry about how other people are responding or not responding to the issue if it’s not constantly in front of you.

· Keep busy. If you have free time, read a (non-COVID-related) book, learn how to knit, bake, garden, do a project with the kids. Ask your pastor if there’s anything you can do to help get things ready for meeting together again at your church (phone calls, e-mails, cleaning, etc.).

· Here are some Scriptures that may help:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34

and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Psalm 37:1-8

• Ask God to help you stay in the mindset of trusting your pastor, praying for him, and joyfully submitting to his leadership. Remind yourself it’s not your job to set policy for your church, that’s your pastor’s/elders’ job. Also, you don’t need to concern yourself with how other pastors are handling their churches. Focus on your own church and how you can pray for and help it.

• Stop worrying about hypotheticals and what ifs (civil disobedience in the future, abuse, suicide, reasons for shutting the doors of the church, etc.). God does not require you to have the answers to those questions, and if/when they do happen, He will carry you through it then. Focus on glorifying God in what He has given you to do today.

• I have six kids ranging in age from 32 to 17, so as an older mom to a younger mom, relax. Your children are not as fragile as you think and they are not “growing up” thinking this is normal. A) It’s only been a couple of months. B) If your kids are young, I can practically guarantee you that, even if this goes on for a few more months, they’ll never remember it. Ask them when they’re in their 20s and see if I’m right. :0)

• I love the theologian you mentioned and I listen to his podcast regularly, but I know my own tendency to be fearful of the future, and I’ve noticed that when he starts “doomsaying” about how terrible things are going to get, my anxiety shoots up. He may be 100% right about everything that’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to him say it if that makes you anxious. (That may be an “eye” you need to gouge out if it causes you to sin by worrying.)

You don’t have to have all the answers. It really is OK to loosen your grip, put all these unknowns in God’s hands, and trust Him to work everything out His way and in His timing – not yours – as you practice “waiting upon the Lord.”

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8

 

Additional Resources

Spurring each other on! COVID-19 Quarantine Encouragement on A Word Fitly Spoken

Church was never meant to be remote: Reuniting after COVID-19 on A Word Fitly Spoken


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Top 10, Worship

Top 10 Songs of Comfort and Joy During COVID-19 Quarantine

 

How’s your quarantine going? Climbing the walls yet? Miss gathering with your brothers and sisters at church? Anxious about being out of work? Worried about what the future might hold? There’s a solution to all of that: worship.

Here, in no particular order, are my top 10 picks for songs to get you worshiping and to keep you encouraged during the days ahead. Perfect for your church’s online worship service, or for singing while you wash your hands for the eleventeenth time in five minutes. Click on the title of each song for a lyric sheet.

(Note: I do not necessarily endorse all of these songwriters or performers, the churches/organizations they represent, any other songs they may have written or performed, or their theology. If you decide to follow any of these people or groups, check out their theology first to make sure it’s biblical.)

1.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

 

2.
You Are My Hiding Place

While we’re “hiding” in our homes from this virus, let us never forget that God alone is our true hiding place, the only place of safety and security. Do you recognize the Bible verses in this song?

 

3.
He Will Hold Me Fast

The God who loved you enough to give His only Son for you loves you enough to carry you through any crisis. God’s got you. He’s not letting go.

 

4.
He Leadeth Me

“Content, whatever lot I see, since ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.” It’s hard to be content in the midst of chaos. This lovely hymn keeps bringing us back to what should be our focus: Whatever we’re going through – still waters or troubled sea – if we’re in Christ, we can trust that God will lead us through.

 

5.
Count Your Blessings

God’s Word always leads us to look to Him and be thankful, regardless of our circumstances. Here’s a toe-tapper that’ll remind you to focus on how much God has blessed you! (And if you like the “old school” version of Count Your Blessings, enjoy! lyrics here)

 

6.
To God Be the Glory

“Give Him the glory, great things He hath done”? In the middle of a plague? Yes. There’s no better time than in the midst of distress to exalt the name of the Lord and “let the earth hear His voice.” Sometimes it takes calamity to cut through all the noise and open the world’s ears to the gospel. Praise the Lord!

 

7.
God Will Take Care of You

In Christ, we have the rest and assurance of knowing that no matter what happens, God will take care of us.

 

8.
His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26

 

9.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Get your eyes off the things of earth – fear, disease, need, uncertainty- and turn them back where they belong. On Jesus.

10.
God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Are you missing your church family? This is a great song to help you prayerfully keep them in remembrance…until you meet again.


Bonus Song!
How Great Thou Art

Did you see the celebrity collab video of Imagine that was making the rounds on social media recently? Well, you probably won’t recognize as many faces on this one, but I think it’ll bless you a whole lot more. (Kudos to brothers Garrett O’Hara for coming up with the idea and Andrew Vasel for editing all the videos together on YouTube!)


Which worship songs are encouraging you during this time?