If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
- Psalm 91:9-16
I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
- Psalm 37:25
“We worry. We worry about the IRS and the SAT and the FBI … We worry that we won’t have enough money, and when we have money we worry that we won’t manage it well. We worry that the world will end before the parking meter expires. We worry what the dog thinks if he sees us step out of the shower. We worry that someday we’ll learn that fat-free yogurt was fattening.
“Honestly, now. Did God save you so you would fret? Would he teach you to walk just to watch you fall? Would he be nailed to the cross for your sins and then disregard your prayer? Come on. Is Scripture teasing us when it reads, ‘He has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go’? (Psalm 91:11).
“I don’t think so either.”
- Max Lucado, In the Grip of Grace
I have written before that a great deal of the panic regarding the COVID-19 virus is due to a lack of faith in God and God’s promises. Psalm 91 was used by Satan to tempt Jesus, mentioning that the angels would tend to Him if He fell, but this same Psalm prophesies Satan’s doom. Jesus will trample the lion and the serpent. But this Psalm is also written for each believer. Some have died from coronavirus and more deaths will follow, but if Jesus is in these people’s hearts, the virus cannot conquer their souls. We should not be afraid of death.
But I’m one to talk. I am taking as many precautions as possible. We should not worry, but we should be responsible. We may know that we are in God’s hands, but if we catch the virus, we could spread it to others. Being responsible is still important.
But when I first read the Lucado devotion, I started to laugh, due to “fear” of the IRS, SAT, and FBI.
As for the IRS, I do not cheat on my taxes. I have nothing to fear. I disagree with those in professional sports (namely football and NASCAR where I have heard the following words spoken). They say, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.” No, I try to follow the rules.
As for the SAT, I took the ACT instead and didn’t worry. I didn’t take any preparation classes. I felt I either knew it or I didn’t, same with the GRE a few years later. I guess that I did okay with the SAT, since Cornell tried really hard to get me to go there to college.
And as for the FBI, that brought memories back to me. When I lived in South Carolina, I worked at a top secret government facility. Most of my neighbors did also. It was a common occurrence to have the local FBI field office send someone to our neighborhood. One day, I was mowing the lawn when the stereotypical black sedan pulled up to my curb and a man in a black suit got out, also cliché. He flipped out his badge, although he needn’t bother. He mentioned that my next-door neighbor’s security clearance was up for renewal. He asked if my neighbor threw any wild parties.
When I grinned, he rolled his eyes and said, “Okay, if we are to have fun with this… When your neighbor throws wild parties, what kind of refreshments are served? Are there any strange people at the parties? Is there any illegal activity at these parties, which, for the sake of a friendly discussion here in a quiet neighborhood, are extremely wild?” He finally grinned, and it looked genuine.
I explained, “Okay, I cannot claim that his parties are wild. Nothing illegal going on, strongest thing is wine and beer, but no one getting drunk. Drunk dart throwers are dangerous. Safety first, you know. Since I have been invited to a few, anything illegal might get me in trouble. Seems most of his guests are people from the division at the plant where he works, same people all the time. He doesn’t have family in the area, so it’s work people.”
The FBI agent took notes feverishly, thanked me for making it painless, and he walked to the neighbor’s house further down the street.
If an FBI agent were to knock on my door today, I might wonder why they are there, but I wouldn’t worry about it.
As for Max Lucado’s other worries, the only one that would bother me would be for the world to end right after I put more money in the parking meter – you know, the waste. If the world has come to an end and then the meter expires, who cares? Then again, I couldn’t take those extra quarters with me, so what does that matter either?
Honestly, the only one of his worries that I have faltered on lately is the one about not having enough money. We already had a short supply, before our son became ill. We have not balanced our monthly budget since. At one point, when I thought I was getting desperate, I asked the church and they turned me down, with a caveat for later requests. I felt guilty in asking, and when I was turned down, I realized that if I only had five dollars in the bank, it would be enough. God provides our needs. Now, we live with a much lower amount than which we used to live, but I am hopeful that we’ll finally balance our monthly budget this month. Miracles do happen, with or without a stimulus check.
See how silly some of these worries are? I heard David Robertson’s podcast this morning on the Wee Flea website, and he said that some of the worldwide coronavirus deaths may not have been due to the coronavirus, because some people may have died from other complications while testing positive to the virus. Could their worry have increased their blood pressure or set off a stroke? Our worry cannot add a day to our lives, but for some people with underlying conditions, it might shorten life a bit.
Let’s be responsible, but let’s not worry. After all, God will send angels to guard us and lift us if we fall.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.