Each time I turn on the radio or internet, I am inundated with news about Covid-19 and new developments. It seems my social media feeds are peppered with conspiracy theories which verge on the scary but are closer to ridiculous. There are accusations of government cover-ups, evil agendas by wealthy industrialists, secret laboratories, quack cures, and the list goes on. The Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 also carried with it some odd conspiracy theories; Bayer aspirin was thought to carry the contagion, and German submarines were rumoured to be infiltrating coastline communities to spread the disease.
Much of what the soldiers and civilians experienced then, we are living through today; social isolation, the controversial face mask, families torn with grief, ships full of sick people carrying the contagion around the world, and a desperate race to develop a vaccine. Why do our minds seek to make sense of it all through wild conspiracy theories, though? There is fear of social disintegration, collapse of the economy, a distrust of authority in all its forms, a desire to preserve normalcy, but at heart a great dis-ease and perplexity.
There has never been a better season to remember the wise counsel of the apostle Paul. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5b-7 ESV). Instead of repeating with wide-eyed fear the latest pseudo-science conjecture, do as Paul urges and present your requests to God. He already knows them before we pray, but waits patiently for your part in coming to Him for the answer. When we approach His throne with thanksgiving, the peace of God comes as a welcome treasure, bought for us by our relationship with the Lord Jesus, a peace beyond any speculation or human comprehension because it is not of our world, but His. God’s peace is there to be experienced, a strong grace to stoutly guards our anxious hearts and minds.
Stay grounded in God’s Word, not social media, as Moses counselled, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 ESV)