Prophet Isaiah describes a case of worldwide panic in chapter 41 of his book (Isaiah 41: 5-7):
“Far-flung ocean islands see it and panic.
The ends of the earth are shaken.
Fearfully they huddle together.
They try to help each other out,
making up stories in the dark.
The godmakers in the workshops
go into overtime production, crafting new models of no-gods,
Urging one another on—‘Good job!’ ‘Great design!’—
pounding in nails at the base
so that the things won’t tip over.” *Bible version: The Message
With ongoing pandemic in 2020, Isaiah accurately describes what is currently happening all over the world. There is fear, there is confusion, there is hardship and people huddle together on social media, on phones, via video conferencing to help each other out. Since a highly contagious virus requires social distancing we cannot huddle together in our friendship circles like we normally would. This further adds stress to a strange situation that we simply have never encountered before.
The statement following the above-quoted paragraph in Isaiah begins with the word “But”. “But” means “despite of” and points to a crucial piece of information that we don’t want to miss (Isaiah 41:8-10):
“But you, Israel, are my servant.
You’re Jacob, my first choice,
descendants of my good friend Abraham.
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. *Bible version: The Message
A crisis reveals what is unreliable. We cannot depend on idolatry or get away with “luck” – nothing of the sort is able to overcome a disease wreaking havoc everywhere; we cannot rely on our jobs: millions of people are out of work right now; we cannot rely on our friends and relatives as we used to: we are torn apart via social distancing. Still, we do not need to give in to fear. The Lord will never leave us.
The good news is that God is with His children, no matter what. And even if we don’t know the Lord, He still knows us and cares for us. Whether we are discouraged or have come to a dead end, we need to call on Him. He will come to our rescue and see us through.