Evangelical pastor and author Max Lucado is encouraging Christians to choose faith over fear and consider what God might be telling them as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the United States and abroad.
“We’ve never lived in a time like this. This is unprecedented,” Lucado, pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, told The Christian Post. “Yet the Bible tells us that times have been bizarre before. You open your Bible and you read about pestilence, fears, dark times. The Bible is written for times like this.”
“I think this a time where we need to be feeding our faith,” he continued. “If you feed your faith, your fears will starve. If you feed your fears, your faith will starve. Our tendency is to feed our fears. We have to do intentional things to feed our faith.”
Choosing faith over fear amid the onslaught of negative headlines, The New York Times bestselling author said, begins with thought management.
“When I turn on the news this evening, I’ll hear somebody say things are getting worse. If I don’t guard myself, I’ll let that create a sense of anxiety that will fill my heart, and then I will purvey that to the world,” Lucado explained.
“We think that just because we have a thought, we have to think it. We don’t. We don’t have to receive it. There are lots of lies out there and falsehoods distributed right now, in the form of exaggeration, like, ‘We’ll never get through this’ and other overstatements. We need to guard against those things because they can suck us down.”
“This means, we hear that thought, and then we pray: ‘I know it seems things are getting worse, but Lord, you are in control, and I’m not going to surrender to that. I give my fear to you,’” he said. “Instead of allowing anxiety into my heart, faith goes into my heart so that later, what I say is, ‘Things are tough, but I believe in a good God and He’s on the throne.' I become one who purveys hope instead of fear.”
He encouraged every believer to ask: “‘Lord, what are you saying to me during this crisis?” God, Lucado stressed, is “talking to the world” through the global pandemic.
“I believe His message is both personal and global,” the pastor emphasized. “Some of us need to hear something individually. For example, I sensed the Lord was telling me, ‘Max, don’t depend on the economy.’ It could be that God is telling people, ‘Don’t trust entertainment for your fulfillment.’”
“Who would’ve foreseen empty sports stadiums? This feels like a science fiction novel,” he continued. “It could be that some of us need to hear the Lord saying, ‘Quit making an idol out of these sources of pleasure. Come to me for fulfillment.”
In times of calamity, Christians should strive to “keep our Bibles and hearts open” more than ever before, Lucado stressed.
“We have situations like this in history and it will happen again," he said. "I don’t know if this is an indication that we’re near the end of the world as we know it, but it could be. Nobody knows. But it’s a reminder to us to turn our hearts to the Lord and keep praying.”