Summary: What do I do with my fear? What is our response to the growing pandemic of fear in the world around us?
So, we are in a series called Inside Out and the title actually comes from the Disney movie that came out a few years back, a movie that gave us an inside look at all of the emotions going on inside of an 11 year old girl named Riley who is trying her best to adapt to all the change in her life that is happening as a result of moving from Minnesota to San Francisco with her mom and dad. The bottom line is this. What happens on the outside, her behavior, is being driven by what is happening on the inside. That is true in each of our lives and stories too. That’s why we are doing this series.
So in week 1 we dealt with our anger and then last week our good friend Cherie Snyder took on this beast called anxiety. Didn’t she do great? She said something last week that I thought was profound. When it comes to anxiety or any of the things that we are taking on in this series the question is never “what’s wrong with you?” The question is what’s going on with you, what’s going on inside of you?”. Finding the life we are all looking for requires us to approach this stuff from the inside out. So we have talked about anger and anxiety and today we are shifting gears once again to talk about this thing called fear. When we planned this series a few months back we had no idea that the Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19 would be the issue that it is in our world today. I was reading a few articles from a couple of doctors this past week that I think bring a much needed perspective. Listen to this, one said this...
ILLUST> “I am a doctor and Infectious Disease Specialist. I have been at this for 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis. I am not scared of Covid-19. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health, or disenfranchised who stand to suffer most. What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic. But mostly, I'm scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and "fight for yourself above all else" attitude could prove disastrous. I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts. Our children will thank us for it.” The other doc was a psychiatrist on staff at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She recommends addressing our fear by putting the virus in perspective specifically in relation to flu statistics in the recent past, do what you can to prepare, don’t overdo preparation, limit your exposure to the news, be wary of where you get information, and don’t isolate.
So we are calling this virus a pandemic. In other words it’s a disease that is spreading over a large part of the world. That’s true, but it seems to me that there is an even greater pandemic that is actually spreading faster than the corona virus can or ever will. All of our care, caution, concern, and preparation is good. We are taking steps to do all of that here at DCC too. BUT...care, caution, concern, preparation and isolation doesn’t really address the greater pandemic...our fear. So what is the real antidote for all of this fear that seems to be alive and well, living just below the surface in most of us. I want us to spend the rest of our time together today talking about that.
If you have a Bible in front of you we are going to be in Exodus chapter 14 today. If not, no sweat, everything I read will show up at the bottom of the screen. Let’s grab a little bit of context so that we are all on the same page with this story that we are jumping into together today. God’s people Israel had been slaves in Egypt, God brings plagues, Pharaoh finally decides to let God’s people go, shortly after that they leave Egypt Pharaoh gets angry, changes his mind, and comes after them. So, here we go, Exodus chapter 14 beginning with verse 10…
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.