I recently read the following quote on Facebook from theologian Peter Leithart:
In the space of two days this week, I saw two articles from the London Daily Express quoting scientists who say the coronavirus isn’t as lethal as we feared. One called the UK lockdown a “monumental mistake.” Of course, some have been saying this since mid-March.
This isn’t to minimize the turmoil of the past six months. On the contrary, this is where things get interesting. If they’re right, the world panicked at the sound of a falling leaf (Leviticus 26:36). We all fled when no one was pursuing (Leviticus 26:17).
What might that mean? Has the Lord given us over to our phobias and terrors? Has He delivered us to our dread of death? Has He pulled back the screen to reveal the abyss of nothing that we think holds us up?
To paraphrase Chesterton, “When we won’t fear God, we don’t become fearless. We fear everything.”
By all means, protect the vulnerable. For the rest, Jesus says, “Fear not.” Never has everyday courage been so necessary, the everyday courage to shake hands and hug, the everyday courage to live in a world that is always teeming with dangers.
There are two jarring sentences in this quote. The first is a question, “Has He pulled back the screen to reveal the abyss of nothing that we think holds us up?” Like the famed wizard in the Wizard of Oz, COVID has exposed our smallness. We are not nearly as powerful as we once thought. All the earthly things we trusted in failed us. Technology did not keep us. Money has not saved us. Like Baal who did not answer (1 Kings 18), our idols left us stranded.
The second jarring sentence is, “When we won’t fear God, we don’t become fearless. We fear everything.” Perhaps no sentence describes our fragile culture so accurately as this. Without the fear of God, we have moral chaos, and the changing morality has not lived up to the hype. We are not boldly moving forward; rather, we are timidly standing still.
Yes, COVID-19 is real and dangerous. But the world has always been dangerous. Even so, our God is sovereign. Perhaps it’s time we remember and began to practice some everyday courage as an act of joyful submission to the King who holds it all in His hands!!!