Coronavirus: Slow down and be not afraid

Column by Mary Stobie
Posted 3/25/20

Pope John Paul II said “Be not afraid.” Though he is gone from this world, his words remain with me. The words help me to stay calm and not dwell on fears. With the worldwide Coronavirus …

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Coronavirus: Slow down and be not afraid

Posted

Pope John Paul II said “Be not afraid.” Though he is gone from this world, his words remain with me. The words help me to stay calm and not dwell on fears.

With the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak, I believe God is making a comment about how we are living. He has our attention right now. You might slow down and listen to Him.

If you don’t believe in God, or that He has anything to do with the Coronavirus outbreak you may think it is all just by chance. You may panic if you think that, because it looks to be random without meaning.

Because the Coronavirus is breaking out in so many countries all over the world, I believe God is speaking to all of us at the same time, and that there is great meaning in all of the current events. If we quiet ourselves down from our panic, we may hear His voice. With the self-quarantines having many of us locked in our homes away from familiar places of gathering such as restaurants, schools, churches, clubs, etc. we have a chance to be stil — a rare experience. We can escape the rat race of competition and constant activity.

Willard Pleuthner wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1950, an essay called “Slow Down.”

“Slow me down Lord, I’s a-goin ‘too fast. I can’t see my brother when he’s walkin’ past I miss a lot o’ good things day by day I don’t know a blessin’ when it comes my way

— Old Spiritual

The essay continues, “May we slow down our rushing around so we see and enjoy Your signs of spring bursting through bushes, flowers and trees.”

Then he goes on with a paragraph which has particular meaning for me with my children and grandchildren. “Slow up our week ends of gaiety (and quarantine) so we live more with our children … do more with them … grow closer to them. For they need parental companionship now during these uncertain times more than ever before.”

In the Bible there are stories of plagues. I looked up plagues on Google and it said “Plagues represent the fullness of God’s expression of justice and judgement upon those who refuse to repent.”

Repent what? I ask myself. Is it my materialism and my checking my finances online more often than I pray to God? Is it my fears about not trusting God? Is it my fear of becoming homeless if I lose all my money? Please God take all my money if you need it somewhere else, and make me a beggar. I’m serious!

My prayer is that people will learn to work together to solve the Coronavirus problem.

Most importantly, do not be afraid. The worst thing that could happen from the Coronavirus outbreak is death. Why be afraid of death? It will happen one way or another. Let God decide the day of our death or our “expiration date,” a nurse friend called it.

At the end of Pleuthner’s essay he wrote “In all this slowing down may we find the joy in holy silence…during which it is easier to ‘be still and know that Thou art God.’”

Mary Stobie is an author and syndicated columnist. Her memoir You Fall Off You Get Back On Is available on the website www. marystobie.com

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