My family and I were in Rome in early March just as the new coronavirus was getting more and more present in Italy and around the world. Our trip itself was uneventful but fear was always present. The situation evolved so quickly that week as things ramped up – something could seem like a good decision one day, and the next day I would question it. When my middle child got a fever on the plane just a few hours after leaving Montreal, fear that we should not have travelled was definitely there. When midway through our stay in Rome, Italy closed all its schools, I started to be afraid that it would be difficult for us to go home. Upon our return a day before Italy’s total lockdown, when my oldest daughter got a fever and we had to have her tested for Covid-19, I was afraid that we all got infected (thankfully the test was negative).
While in Rome, we had the opportunity to be on St Peter’s Square on Sunday and listen to Pope Francis’ last public Angelus. One thing he said that really spoke to me was that we should not negotiate with temptation. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, he did not bargain with the Devil but cited Scriptures over and over again. The Pope added that when confronted by the Devil during his time on earth, Jesus did one of two things: he either rebuked him or quoted Scriptures. This is an example for us to follow when faced with temptation.
My biggest temptation in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak is definitely fear: fear of the future, fear for my husband and my kids, fear of the unknown. Being in the medical field and having more knowledge about the situation actually aggravates that fear. And yet, the Lord calls us to trust him even when we are afraid.
In Psalm 121:7 it says:
“The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life.”
This verse is what has kept me going the past few weeks. At the beginning of The Forty Days of Lent, just before our trip to Italy, we decided as a family to pick one Bible verse each week to try to memorize together. That was the first one we chose. Little did we know that it would be so appropriate for this season of our lives. In meditating on this verse, I was forced to ask “What does it mean for the Lord to keep me and my family from all harm? What does it mean that he will watch over our lives?” The verse does not say “The Lord might keep you from all harm” but “will keep you from all harm”. This is a promise from the Lord and the Lord is always faithful to his promises! However, we all know that because we live in a fallen world, “harm” does happen; trials and sufferings are very present even if we surrender our lives to the Lord and trust in Him. And that’s where the second part of this verse comes in: “He will watch over your life”. Even in the midst of trials and tribulations, he is very present and faithful, he watches over us and brings us closer to him. And most importantly, he guards our hearts, he protects us from temptation and from the schemes of the evil one to take us away from the One who created us. How amazing and comforting it is to know that we have a God who cares for us so deeply that he never loses sight of us, that he watches over us and guides our every step!
In the past few weeks, many times when faced with fears and anxiety, the Lord gently reminded me of our verse “The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life.” (Psalm 121:7). The comfort of knowing that he is present and watching over us is then enough. Meditating on this verse, I have the intimate conviction that not only is he faithfully present with us, but also that even if we would get sick, even if one of us would die, he would still be with us at our sides the whole time, that we would still be able to find strength and comfort and peace in Him as he constantly “watches over our lives” and that nothing and no one can separate us from Him, not even death. By his resurrection, Jesus has triumphed over death and taken away its sting. As it says in 1 Corinthian 15:54 “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” And so, in those moments of overwhelming anxiety, it is only through prayer and scriptures that I am able to find peace.
As the situation is worsening around the world, fear continues to be a daily temptation: fear that this pandemic will get even worse, fear that I will get infected and infect my husband and my daughters, fear that life will never go back to normal. But one thing God has been teaching me is to lean more on his Word. Here are a few verses that are also of real help to me during this time:
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17: 7)
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56: 3)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1: 9)
Fear is real and trust is hard, especially when we have kids whom we want to protect at all costs. But I encourage you not to lean into fear. Every time you feel afraid or anxious, if you either rebuke that fear or cite Scriptures, His peace will come into your heart. In the midst of uncertainty, one thing is sure: God is faithful and he is definitely at work. He wants us to trust him and surrender ourselves and our families to him.
This article (c) by Katia Dahan was first published in The Lois Project
The Lois Project is a group of Christian women from various cities, countries, and church backgrounds who feel a common call to be disciples on mission in all seasons of life. Most of us find ourselves in a season of care-giving as mothers, grandmothers, mentors, or teachers.
Many of our writers are part of an international, ecumenical Christian community called The Sword of the Spirit. Although we come from Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant traditions we seek to foster unity among these groups and work together.
Top photo: Katia with her daughters in Rome March 2020 (Colliseum in background)
Katia and her husband Michel have three daughters. They live in Montreal, Canada. God has given her three vocations: being a wife, a mother, and a doctor. Her family is her biggest blessing.
1 thought on “Do Not Negotiate with Fear”
Truly inspiring message and I will hold this verse from Psalm 121;7 dear to my heart.
Thank you Katia for your beautiful sharing.