By Pastor Robert Perez
Fear can make you do unexpected things. It’s potency on your system is relative to how prepared you are to tackle stressful events. Hording toilet paper, really? Wow. Spring break during a virus outbreak? C’mon. Greed drove the vendors; selfishness and stupidity drove the participants.
My niece and her twin brother were the first children born from my generation long before my daughter and son were born. They were the initial test subjects of our newly mature selves as we learned how to care and nurture for others. When my niece was growing up, she would always walk into rooms that were dark and scary, doing things that suggested that she was fearless. I watched amazed as nothing seemed to disturb her.
I study everything with a passion for observation, like a detective of life.
I thought of my niece, “Was she brave or aloof?” Thinking of myself and siblings as comparisons, the three of us grew up full-on scaredy-cats. The dark was an evil place and that was that; only the light held safety. We’d huddle like a pack of lost children in our own home, waiting for our parents to come home from a night out, literally wondering if we’d make it, processing all night the number of possible bad scenarios we each conjured up in our minds. Looking back, we were lucky to make it to adulthood (kidding, of course).
I concluded that my niece was aloof. She may in fact be brave, but these situations were not testing her bravery because she didn’t conceive of any danger being there. It’s not brave when you show no fear if you haven’t even thought of something to be afraid of. She has a brilliant mind and excels in everything she does, beyond all our expectations. As a child, it would have served her to be more fearful as it’s a very useful tool for survival. I thank God and her parents that she never had to test that theory.
As a parent to two kids, I intentionally instilled fear of real dangers into my children, but with one added ingredient, rationality. Dangers do exist, even under God’s watchful eye. The enemy is always at work. I am a survivalist at my core, and I foster in my children the ways to cope in what-if scenarios. Every parent should. It makes me feel more at ease for their safety knowing that they are informed and better capable should they have to rely on themselves in a crisis. No apologies from me about it.
I teach them to discern friend from foe, and about God and loving man, all essential parts for proper evaluation in any situation. I don’t teach them how to hunt in blizzards or do martial arts on multiple attackers like an action hero. I do teach them to control fear and to think clearly in a crisis. Adaptability is key. I’ve done well, I think. To add to this both their mothers (two marriages) have worked on their development in ways that far exceed what I’ve done. They are angels from heaven. As parents we share the same intent for their safety and well-being, now and in the long run.
During this crisis, I am proud of being an American and a New Yorker. My federal and local governments stepped-up by taking care of its citizens responsibly, with accuracy and decisiveness; and herein lies my point, they’ve done so without irrational fear. They recognized the danger from the data and properly responded, maximizing the potential to save millions of lives, maybe more.
It’s become obvious that many around the world are not prepared for crisis management. Unfortunately, some of us will die as a result and there is no point in sugar coating that fact. Some people are going about their lives aloof to the real danger that infection can cause to themselves, their loved ones and others. Others, out of fear, are hoarding supplies in a selfish attempt to have a leg-up if shit goes down.
During this time there will be many salivating snake-oil salesmen setting up shop because they know fear is good for business. Be aware of being sold things you don’t need or joining an organization that you would otherwise see right through. They’ll try to get you to believe that this is God’s plan and that Armageddon has begun. Non-sense. Every moment of the day is part of Gods plan.
Is this the beginning of the end, i.e. Armageddon? I get asked this often. The plain answer is, an absolute-without-question-or-any-doubt, no. Our current crisis comes with living on earth in a rapidly developing world that has caused our planet to heat up considerably in conjunction with over population. Nothing more.
We’re truly lucky that we live in a time that has the resources and money to tackle a crisis such as this. We can be certain that people and industries are working tirelessly for innovative solutions. But the real innovation is the humankind. Yes, there are those thinking selfishly, but the majority are doing the opposite, selflessly offering themselves to others. What a beautiful thing to witness, man helping man.
As I continue to deepen my understanding of Gods plan, I concluded that Armageddon is not an absolute. It is a projection based on data and observation. It is not a stretch of the imagination to see the destruction humans are capable of. If we continue to live that way, we will destroy ourselves. But if we choose wisely, we will be spared our own demise.
The viral pandemic has caused a ‘mental pandemic of fear’ while also revealing man’s unerring blindness to facts. To panic from fear means you cannot assess a situation properly for a solution or course of action.
God’s word is that even against the odds there’s always a solution. Don’t panic but learn to cope. Learn to love and unite. Those two things alone can tackle the enemy in much greater force than they could ever conjure up. And when you add God’s energy surrounding you, you have an unstoppable force for good that will far exceed what is possible on our own. Jesus said to follow him and receive Gods goodness, which when distilled is loving others as you love yourself.