“Cybercriminals are using concerns about the coronavirus to launch phishing attacks.”

The above was a heading in a newsletter published by Norton [Computer] Virus protection software. It is a warning of criminals capitalising on the fear that the current virus pandemic is producing in many people.

This fear is making people vulnerable to being lead to do things that later brings great regret.

At the moment, with the panic buying due to this virus pandemic, we are seeing people descending into nasty self-preservation behaviours. These demonstrate a “me first” attitude. People become anxious when their normal routine is interrupted. I have seen people panic buy because an extra holiday was scheduled that made a three-day long weekend one day longer than normal.

People are seeing a situation develop that they don’t know how to cope with. When the normality that they are trusting in is taken away from them panic sets in.

This could happen to us all at the blinking of an eye. How would you cope if your “normal’ was taken away? Some normals are family and friendship relations, jobs/income, house to live in, health, confidence in a respected person etc.

All these things are good in themselves but can be taken away at a moments notice. Personal freedom is one I didn’t mention above but if you stand up for the rights of the unborn child to have the life that God gave him/her then under the current law you could lose your freedom and be incarcerated.

Sounds like a scary world that we live in but the Bible is replete with assurances that God will sustain us in and through these times of troubles that can, at times, be hugely scary.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Faith in Jesus Christ and his promises is the answer to the fear question.

Down through history, the Christian church has set the example of how to cope with troubling times. Even with this current virus scare that started in Wuhan China, we have seen reports of Christians in Wuhan putting their own lives at risk. They have been standing out in the streets giving out face masks and helping people where they could. Even the local police were coming to them for help.

What makes the difference between the two groups, those who are fighting in shopping centre isles over toilet paper and those who are putting their own lives at risk for the sake of others?

Maybe the last words spoken by Vibia Perpetua who was martyred for her faith in Christ would help.

After her arrest, days pass. Eventually, Carthage stirs with news that games are about to take place in celebration of Caesar’s birthday.

Vibia Perpetua, a young noblewoman, wife, and mother, lived from 182-203 AD in Carthage, a Roman city near North Africa’s gleaming Mediterranean. 

She and her co-prisoner Felicitas, another young mother, must face a wild cow. The beast tosses Perpetua skyward once; …. Before Perpetua’s final faceoff with the beast, she leaves these words to fellow Christians: 

Stand fast in the faith, and love one another, all of you, and be not offended at my sufferings.” 

Looking at her comment phrase by phrase surely we can see demonstrated a sustaining hope found in Jesus Christ, was present in her life. Maybe there are some who feel like their situation is like facing that bull; well, it may feel like it but remember that the same Jesus who sustained Vibia in her troubled time is the same Jesus who says He will sustain you in your troubles.

Philippians 4:6 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

You too can have victory in the face of troubling times.

So, what situation is beyond the help of God?

Feel free to contact me and share your thoughts.

Pastor Mal

Story of Vibia Perpetua is from <https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/heroic-female-martyrs-and-what-they-can-teach-us-all.html>

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