Peace in the Midst of a Pandemic

Written by Norm Henry
From his column A Sound Mind

As I write this, I am staying home like most of the world, hopefully to slow down the pandemic of COVID-19. (Yes, I am washing my hands, and social distancing.) Being concerned and being home more than usual, I am tempted to watch the news… and watch the news. Most of what I watch is about the spread of this deadly virus, and viewing these reports for a long time can leave us depressed. The isolation and disruption in our normal routines can play havoc with our physical and mental states, and then, there is the fear of becoming ill.

So how do we find peace in the midst of a pandemic? I do not think we find peace; He finds us. We do not give ourselves peace; however, God will give us His peace if we listen to Him, and this requires that we spend more time listening to Him than watching the news!

Typically, I turn to God’s Word when facing a crisis. God’s way of bringing peace in the coronavirus crisis has been a little different. With not being able to gather in the church building on Sundays, our services have been live-streamed. So we have worshiped online each Sunday—a new experience for me. God’s Word is being shared through Facebook! Pastors, thanks for preaching God’s message of hope and encouragement to us during such a time as this. Thank you for following God and leading His people through this difficult time. We need your messages.

Which reality do we focus upon? Coronavirus? Or the One who is the “resurrection and the life”?

I am one of those who has avoided Facebook—and still ignore much of what is posted there. But God has used this form of social media to speak to me! Actually, God has spoken to me through His people as they have testified to His grace, faithfulness, and mercy in their posts. Thanks to all who have shared what God has been saying to them. You might call it a “virtual testimony” service. Listening to Christians express their faith in God gives us a sense of His peace, as does expressing our own faith in God.

God also has ministered to me during this time through YouTube. Yes, you read that correctly. I was not even sure how to use YouTube until recently. Some of my friends sent links to songs God has used to bless them, amazing songs that God is using to bless me—songs live from a friend’s living room, sung by choirs, or even performed by a virtual choir. So many. Here are just a few:

As I write this, it is the midst of Holy Week. Which reality do we focus upon? Coronavirus? Or the One who is the “resurrection and the life”? Listening to songs of faith have helped me to stay focused on Christ and to find peace.

Thank you, friends, for sharing all the scriptures God has given you through your online posts. I hear God’s voice anew as I scan verses that I have read many times. By the way, if you want to find peace, try reading through the Psalms—phrases like: “When I am afraid I will trust in you.” “The Lord is the stronghold of my life.” Through the Old Testament: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” Through the New Testament: “And surely, I am with you always.”

God wants to speak His peace into our hearts. In His words to the disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV). With Resurrection Sunday and the season of Easter, we are reminded that God’s love is greater than any virus or other hardship we may face, and He wants us to rest in His peace.

Peace be with you!

Dr. Norm Henry has served the Church of the Nazarene in numerous capacities as both psychologist and minister.