Get Thee Behind Me, Fear of COVID!

Even as I am grieved and aggrieved at masks, social distancing, and other evidences of people tormented by Fear and lies, I am glad of the changes I see.  In me.

After the third “encounter” with extremely aggressive and just plain demented-by-fear folks because my mask was below my nose, I am at a good place with it all.  I am in a place of prayer, day in and day out, and all the day long.  And even as I want “the end of masks forever and ever amen” all of it is growing me, hooray.

I wasn’t always so sanguine, and handled each mask attack differently.  To the first “helper” I said, “I don’t need a mask, I have Jesus,” which caused him to physically jerk and jump, and then scuttle away as quickly as possible.

I wasn’t feeling so smug after subsequent incidents.  “You’re not that special,” I said to three store clerks actually shouting at my husband and me across the store (about 30 feet away).  We turned and left the store, where they no doubt lamented the idiocy of stupid old goats like us who are too dumb to understand the importance to us all of wearing the masks.

Then there was the wild girl who looked like she was about to lose it, so I pulled up the mask and said just loudly enough for her to hear as I left the store, “Shove it up your ass.”  Yay, Bev.  Way to go!  That really was brilliant and beautiful.

And then.  She was a young mom who just really, really, really got under my skin.  If you’re a bit “mature” as am I, you know the one.  She thinks her child is the first and only and she’s God’s golden model of excellence in motherhood.   Along with that pride, of course, is the knowledge that anyone past fifty is passe, and must be helped and educated and somehow tolerated.  Just the memory of that encounter.  Well, I didn’t say much to her, as she made it clear that listening wasn’t her strong suit.  But I lost my joy over it to the extent that I had to come up with a strategy.

Obviously, I reasoned, these helpful little darlings aren’t going anywhere (there have been two more happy times to date).  I had gone through the usual prayers of repentance, forgiveness, etc. but I couldn’t shake the aggravation of Super Mom.  Finally, I did two things:  I made a plan for exactly how to handle it next time; and I gave her a name and went to work in prayer.

I named her Amanda and her baby Chloe, and prayed for her husband, home, finances, everything that came to mind.  I prayed her free from fear.  And I determined that the next encounter will go something like this:

Helper:  I’ll need you to pull your mask up all the way and keep your nose covered.

Bev:  Oh, certainly, even though I can’t breathe and it’s very unhealthy, and the masks don’t work.  I’ll do that for you, and listen to your views about this, and very respectfully, and in return I’d like to ask you to listen to my views about the real reason, even deeper than those I mentioned, about the mask.

Helper:  OK (not looking very ecstatic so far).

Bev:  The real reason is that Jesus is my healer.  I haven’t been to the doctor since my last child was born twenty years ago, and (if there’s a child) I can tell you how to raise that child free from the torment of Fear.

Helper:  Uh . . . (she very well may leave with a pithy comment about my selfishness and ignorance, punctuated with sighs and eye-rollings, in which case we hope Bev’s best laid plans don’t fly out the window as she blows it yet again).  But let’s just suppose things remain civil.

Bev:  Here’s my card.  I’d love to talk to you about this.  And pray with you.  You don’t have to live in fear.  Call me.  Really.

Helper takes card and I ask if she’s brave enough to shake my hand.  I ask her for her name and tell her I’m going to pray for her, assuring her that I’ve been where she is, only probably much more fearful, as I was a world-class worrier once upon a time.

I hate Fear, and I hate the author of it.  The Great Deceiver, Father of Lies.  

If you’re under the dominion of Fear nothing I can say will change your mind.  The mask, may I suggest, is your God.  But could I implore and beg you to look at the words of God, the deeds of Jesus.  “For God has not given us a Spirit of Fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”  You can’t have it both ways, if you bow to fear, you will be powerless, unloving, and not of sound mind.

Let us all pray for victory over Fear. Let us pray for each other and let us be changed.  Amen.

Just say “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!” to Corona Craziness. Period. Because FEAR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.

There were no snacks or coffee samples at a certain store in Fort Collins.  I was told very dramatically, and with a certain disapproval, “We have shut down all sample stations nationwide.”   There were no smiles, none of the usual happy shoppers.  John and I got our milk, cream, chocolate and agreed, “Let’s get outta here.”  Then the checker didn’t want me touching the sack or my own groceries.  Sigh.

On to The Cupboard, a luxury kitchen store where it was nice, pleasant and quiet (they don’t sell toilet paper or bleach).  We stayed a while, gathering our courage to try again for groceries, this time at a  country store where we hoped to find a more seasoned and hopefully less intense group of shoppers than those at our first grocery stop.

Focus on the word “group” – the store was running over at the seams.  We got a few things and again agreed, “Let’s get outta here.”  Still, it was refreshing when the young lady at the in-store bank said, ‘I’m going home, I’m turning off my phone and the TV.  I’m sick of this Corona Crap.  It’s all Fake News, anyway.”

So nice to find bits of sanity amid madness.  While so many people seem to be embracing a panic over what is actually not that different than the flu bugs we faced last year and the year before, and the year before . . . , there are plenty of us who are sitting and watching, bemused and amazed.  As one young man said to us, “It’s like the stupidest, cheesiest apocolypse story ever, only stupider and cheesier.”

Exactly.  But no editor would buy this story.  “No way,” the editor would say, “would people act this crazy over this threat.  It’s the flu.  Something we dread, something we definitely want to avoid, even something dangerous.  But still, at the end of the day it’s the flu.”

So, yes, let’s all go home and stay inside and hide.  Not from the flu, but from the tangible, dark, mucky and almost overwhelming presence of fear.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind” – II Timothy 1:7.

This Spirit of Fear has definitely precluded power and a sound mind in many.  Let us not join them. Rather, let us pray a binding of the Spirit of Fear, and call on God’s promise to bind in heaven what we bind on earth – Matthew 16:19 and 18:18.  Amen.

P.S.  Please consider joining me in another prayer – that He turns what the enemy intends for evil, to good.  Also, join me and so many others in reading Psalm 91 aloud day in and day out.