Going Viral ~ A Better Way

If you have big plans for the weekend, my advice would be to just scrap the whole idea. If whatever fun outing you had in mind involves some kind of public event, it has probably been cancelled already and if not, nobody else is likely to show up anyway. Every level of government from the upper echelons of Federal bureaucracy to the local animal control officer has made it clear that other people are far too dangerous for us to be around. We could inadvertently touch one of them or breathe some of their used air, and some potentially lethal microbe with malicious intent could creep into us and wreak havoc. Basically, everything fun, or that involves more than one person, has been declared too dangerous for human involvement. And as if those things weren’t bad enough, if symptoms like intense chills, high fevers, and spontaneous convulsions mean anything, the stock market has contracted the virus as well. So, in light of most news broadcasts these days, we might as well just take a deep breath, put on our comfortable clothes, and spend the weekend working on our last will and testament.

Frightening Implications ~
Like it or not, the global pandemic consuming every news cycle for weeks now has given most of us a graphic and unavoidable update on our grasp of what “going viral” looks like, and the implications can be frightening. When something begins to multiply in a way that seems uncontrollable, it makes us wonder how to deal with it, and we flawed but sincere followers of Jesus are faced with yet another challenge. We have to decide how to react to it, how to protect ourselves and maybe even provide a small counteractive reaction in the process.

The coronavirus is obviously a serious threat to many people, but there are plagues at work in this country whose influence is as bad, and in some ways, even worse. Among them are unreasonable fear, artificially manufactured panic, and unchallenged disinformation. Obviously, we have no way to directly affect the spread of the Covid19 virus. Neither can we singlehandedly stop those who promote fear and panic, or prevent people from twisting the truth to promote themselves or their own agenda, but that doesn’t mean that we are left without options. In times like these, wouldn’t it make sense to focus our energies on battles that are actually winnable?

Not surprisingly, God has provided some alternative reactions guaranteed to produce victorious results. We may not be able to stop the spread of the virus or stabilize the stock market, but we can immunize ourselves against fear, panic, and the debilitating influence of false information. We often see this powerful counteractive procedure presented as just a nice, positive sounding personal admonition to help us feel better in tough times, but it can be much more than that. It can be a powerful counteractive defense mechanism that protects us from the knee-jerk reactions that are so prevalent around us today. The procedure involves a few simple, easily understood steps:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

The first step is a direct command … Be anxious for nothing. This admonition addresses the mental and emotionally devastating practice of worrying. The scope of the restriction against it includes everything, and though it is stated from a negative perspective, its tone is positive. If we turned it around, it would sound something like this: Free yourself completely from the fruitless, empty, agonizing waste of time that worry always is by categorically refusing to engage in it. 

Working Hard–Getting Nowhere ~
When I go to the gym, I watch people on the treadmills. They often work themselves into a sweating, panting state of exhaustion. They look like they’ve traveled miles, but they get off at the same place they got on. They may have expended the physical energy to travel for miles, but they didn’t really go anywhere. Worry is like that. It exacts a heavy toll on our minds, our emotions, and our spirit, but it actually accomplishes nothing. Folks who use treadmills do receive some help with their cardiovascular health, but worry brings no benefit at all. If it did, God wouldn’t tell us not to do it. The only healthy thing we can do about worry is to disallow it altogether.

Then God goes on to say … in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. If the vacuum left when we abandon worry isn’t filled with prayer, the worry won’t stay gone very long. Prayer, in this sense, isn’t some superficial religious ritual. It’s a one-on-one dialog with the One who is omnipotent. Our loving Creator and Redeemer is calling us to come before Him and ask for what we want. The process includes thanksgiving for all that God has already done and for what we expect Him to do. The underlying sense of the language Paul used seems to indicate that these conversations with God are not light and frivolous. After all, if we’re replacing an emotionally draining and mentally challenging process like worrying with a personal interaction with God, it may also be intense at times, but the outcome is much more positive and productive.

A Countercultural Experience ~
Finally, we’re introduced to this incredible end result … and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Peace is a fascinating concept to contemplate in almost any context, and peace that comes directly from God is even more so. But God offers more than peace as a fascinating contemplation. He offers it as a transformational experience. The peace that God provides installs a protective barrier around our emotional apparatus and mental faculties that defends against the invasion of debilitating anxiety and fear.

Installing God’s peace won’t immediately stop the coronavirus from spreading, and it won’t stop the fear-driven panic paralyzing the country. It won’t bring the economy to a state of stable productivity, and it won’t end the conspiracies or quell the political pandemonium, but it will change our outlook and transform our attitude — and that change in us has a singular quality with incredible potential. That is, it’s highly contagious when other people come in contact with it. Those who have it tend to pass it along to others. Maybe the way to counteract the influence of one out-of-control virus is to help unleash another one. Maybe if we begin to replace fear with hope, panic with peace, and confusing disinformation with God’s eternal Truth, some of the medical masks and latex gloves will come off. Maybe then we can even touch one another again … in more ways than one. 


“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.

    • Be anxious for nothing. This admonition addresses the mental and emotionally devastating practice of worrying. If we turned it around, it would sound something like this: “Free yourself completely from the fruitless, empty, agonizing waste of time that worry always is by categorically refusing to engage in it.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
    • “If the vacuum left when we abandon worry isn’t filled with prayer, the worry won’t stay gone very long. Prayer … is a one-on-one dialog with the One who is omnipotent. Our loving Creator and Redeemer is calling us to come before Him and ask for what we want.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)    
    • “God’s peace … is highly contagious when other people come in contact with it. Those who have it tend to pass it along to others. Maybe the way to counteract the influence of one out-of-control virus is to help unleash another one.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)   
    • “Maybe if we begin to replace fear with hope, panic with peace, and confusing disinformation with God’s eternal Truth, some of the medical masks and latex gloves will come off. Maybe then we can even touch one another again … in more ways than one.”@GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet) 

Check out Ron’s book, “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth”. 

 The Kindle e-version  is just $1.99. No Kindle device is needed. E-book readers are included on most computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you don’t have one, the free Kindle app can be easily downloaded directly from the Amazon site on almost any device.

                    Click here for a “Look Inside” preview at Amazon.


© 2020 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S.  All rights reserved.

About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Humorist, Satirist, Blogger ... "Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World." For Ron's full bio, go to GallaghersPen.com/about/
This entry was posted in Faith and Politics, Faith, Family, and Culture, In the News, Insights, Right Side Up, Wake Up Calls and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Going Viral ~ A Better Way

  1. Anonymous says:

    HI Pastor Ron, I just got a chance to read this. I want to thank you for the wisdom God has given & the fact you are willing to share it with us.
    God Bless You

    Larry Watson

    Like

    • What a blessing to see your comment, Brother. Knowing you guys are out there is like getting a spiritual vitamin shot. As I said to Joan, we’re praying that this forced temporary scattering of the Church becomes a vehicle for cleansing and revival, and that we come out on the other side of this stronger and more fruitful than ever.

      Like

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