The Journey Continues: Fear & Anxiety
My journey this week during the midst of the coronavirus pandemic reminds me of other times when scourges brought fear and anxiety to our lives. Examples like the polio epidemic which, before the creation of the 1954 vaccine, brought fear to every mother with small children. In Vietnam, besides fear of being maimed by the enemy, the spread of malaria transmitted by anopheles mosquitos created great anxiety because nobody knew who would be next to become ill. Out of the 200 soldiers I served with, 38 men and five officers contracted malaria — I was the only officer who did not get sick.
But my best example comes from when I was pastoring 30 years ago in Winters, Texas, and HIV-AIDS raised its head along with rumors and misinformation. Two women in my church, taught me how to be a Christian as stated in the Bible.
“For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” II Timothy 1:7
One of the ladies, Lorene Bradberry, had open heart surgery in Dallas and was given a contaminated blood transfusion from a carrier of the HIV-virus. This happened when AIDS was just starting as an epidemic in America and before blood was tested. I accompanied Bradberry to the doctor’s office where her doctor told her she had been diagnosed with AIDS. She asked me, “Brother Jim, what’s AIDS?" I replied, "Lorene, it’s not good.”
Many people would have responded to this diagnosis with fear and anger, but this kind and compassionate woman softly told me as I drove her home, “I forgive him for making me sick.” Due to many doctor visits and short hospital stays, the news that Bradberry had AIDS began to spread throughout the small town. Some people were afraid to talk with her on the telephone or even drive down her street for fear of “catching AIDS.” But God met all of her needs through friends like Oval King, a neighbor who lived around the corner. A widow herself, King brought food, washed dishes and did the simple yet profound job of cheering her up. This is the kind of action that pleases the Lord.
Now is the time for all of us to care for each other — sharing groceries, helping with childcare, making telephone visits, etc.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgives you.” Ephesians 4:32
My spirit was nourished last Sunday by pastor, Chad Chaddick, who said: “The presence of trouble does not mean the absence of God.”
Be attentive to the Holy Spirit to direct your actions. Calling on your faith, lay these troubled times at the foot of the cross.