If you turn on the television, look at your social media, or read your emails like I have you have been inundated with information concerning the Coronavirus pandemic. We are all concerned. I am concerned for my family, our church family, our community, our country and the millions of souls who have not met Jesus Christ as their Savior. I want people to be well physically, but I also want them to be well emotionally and spiritually. Here are a few suggestions to help us to be well emotionally and spiritually during this time:
1. Process your Emotions- When emotions are suppressed, discounted, or not understood they can lead to increased stress. Prolonged periods of emotional stress can cause mood swings, unexplained sadness, and even depression. Share your emotions with an empathetic friend who will listen to you without judgment and encourage you. You are not a Debbie downer for sharing authentic emotions-read the Psalms? Most importantly remember to share those emotional concerns with the greatest friend you can ever have –God.
1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (See also Phil. 4:6,7)
2. Understand the Correct Perspective as a Person of Faith- Sometimes we get the idea that Faith and emotional distress cannot dwell in the same heart. We do not develop spiritual courage by suppressing our emotions but rather we develop this courage by not solely focusing on the problem at hand but the one who can really fix our problems. In Mark 9:14-29 Jesus is confronted with a situation where a man desperately wants his son to be healed from being oppressed by demons. Jesus instructs the Father to have faith in verse 23 and then we find the fathers response in verse 24: And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Our spiritual courage is developed as emotional beings while facing difficult times looking beyond the difficulty to a God who desires to help. The more we get into the habit of doing this the more spiritual courage we will have.
3. Pour Yourself into Others- It is easy sometimes to retreat to an emotional distressing cocoon of isolation. I have learned that when I am discouraged it helps me to get courage by encouraging someone who is also having difficulty. Just because we may feel like we do not have all the answers or we are not put together is not an excuse to not give a helping hand, or a listening ear, or a word of help and encouragement. In fact, the early church leaders were men who understood their flaws but God used them greatly to pour themselves into others. In II Cor. 11:21-30 Paul speaks of the terrible difficulties he faced as an apostle of Jesus, but what continued to encourage him was investing and encouraging in others even while facing difficulties.
There is some great encouragement in an old song for us today:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace