© 2020 Chip Kawalsingh / Harvest City Church
Fear, worry and anxiety are on the increase, no doubt partly due to the devastating effects of Covid-19. It’s easy to let your thoughts run away from you and for the news and your emotions to take their toll on the way you think. This pandemic is not the worst disease to ever hit the world, but it’s certainly one that will be remembered for a very long time. I’m not sure what will be worse in the long term: the physical effects of the disease, or the mental health issues many will face as a result.
For many, the psalms have been of great comfort over the years and understandably more so now. The writer of Psalm 94 penned these words as if he himself was in lockdown:
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. (Psalm 94:19, NKJV)
It’s hard for people to be left alone with nothing but their thoughts. Emotions can build up within you and your thoughts can become destructive. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to not make major decisions in a temporary place. Covid-19 is a temporary place. The Bible tells us:
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalm 37:23, NLT)
God is into you more than you are into yourself. God loves every detail about you. After all, He made you and has cared for you this far! He won’t let you down.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15, NLT)
We can run to God and He will accept us and bring comfort. He’s our Father. God cannot go against his Word. He won’t ask you to do anything that goes against Scripture; more than ever there is a need for believers to read and study the Bible.
Did God create Covid-19 to kill mankind for their sins? Scripture and God’s divine and moral attributes tell us no, He certainly did not! The prophet Jeremiah wrote these comforting words:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)
God’s thoughts towards His people are based on peace and hope. He desires to give us a future. Now, can God use Covid-19 to bring about His purpose on the earth? Yes! History attests that in the midst of pain and suffering God often proves Himself to His people and His Kingdom advances. Two pivotal verses that confirm this are found in Romans and 1 Peter.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5, NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7, NKJV)
The suffering, trials and anxieties that we face are working out something inside of us, purifying us in our Christian walk with God and lifting us to a true level of intimacy with Him. God’s desire is for a people who truly love Him and His bride, the church.
Mental suffering—the anguish of unhealthy thoughts—is something that many people struggle with. In order to overcome we must filter our life through the Word and remove the thoughts that the enemy has fired our way. Let God’s Word and the establishment of His Kingdom be your main reasons for doing, saying and thinking, instead of letting your feelings and emotions rule.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)
Through the Holy Spirit we have the ability to exercise control over our thoughts. We need to accept responsibility for them and recognise that it’s our mind (as well as our behaviour) that needs changing. Paul urges us to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (Romans 12:21, NIV). Confront your ungodly thoughts and submit them to God’s Word. It takes considerable effort to take your thoughts captive each time they pop into your mind, but with the help of the Holy Spirit it is possible.
Choose to focus on the right things. Turn stinking thinking into God-thoughts. Get a check-up from the neck up! Paul addresses this in Philippians 4:8—we are to meditate on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. When we focus and filter our thinking, God promises to give us His peace that surpasses all understanding. As God empowers you by the Holy Spirit to focus your mind on the right things it will become easier to cultivate a sound and healthy mindset.
Mental health problems are on the rise and Covid-19 has worked to amplify this. But God is fighting for you. You may be battling with your own thought-life, struggling with questions like: Is God good? Did He create the pandemic to bring judgement on the earth? Does God love me? Has He got a plan for me? What will happen to my job, my career, my future? What will happen to my children? If these thoughts or any others have invaded your mind I want you to know, today, as you read this: God loves you! He only thinks good thoughts towards you. He’s got you in the palm of his hands. No disease or person can take you away from Him. His love knows no end and He will absolutely cover you with His mighty hands.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)
Now is the time to submit your thoughts to God. Leave them in His hands and let your mind be renewed.