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 important first sentence after the above-quoted paragraph of disaster begins with the word “But”. “But” is going to make all the difference; “But” means “despite of”; “But” means there is something ruling in our favor. We need to listen closely every time the word “But” appears since it represents a crucial piece of information, and we don’t want to miss it. So here it is (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
Even though nobody likes to go through a crisis, there is a benefit to it: A crisis reveals what is reliable and what is unreliable. We cannot rely on luck and good fortune charms or idolatry in any shape or form – nothing of the sort is able to resolve a disease wreaking havoc everywhere; we cannot rely on our jobs since millions of people are out of work right now; we cannot rely on friends and relatives since we are isolated from one another through quarantine.
If we are serving God, here is the good news: He is with us every difficult step of the way. He provides us with peace when the rug is pulled from underneath. However, if we don’t know the Lord, He still knows us and cares for us. We are encouraged to call on Him.
God is the only reliable Rock that makes sense. He is the One we cling to in hope.