There is a very good Internet read making the rounds, purportedly written in 1942 by the late British author C.S. Lewis, in which an old devil explains to a young one how we managed to get so many peoples’ souls to hell.
According to multiple sources, however, Lewis didn’t write it. Whoever did should take credit, because it is provocative. There’s a lot of that kind of stuff circulating today. More so than ever, we really can’t believe everything we read.
The subject that the piece Lewis didn’t write explores how fear affects us, and uses a pandemic to illustrate how individuals forsake all else in order to save themselves from the plague.
Fear combines the future with things unknown or unexpected. We don’t fear the past because, literally, it’s in the past tense.
When we talk about fear, it’s usually sounds something like this: “I’m afraid that (…. fill in the blank …)
* I won’t be able to pay the bills.
* I have an incurable disease.
* I’m going to lose my job.
* The kids are going to move back in.
* My leisure suit isn’t going to fit anymore.
Whatever “it” is hasn’t happened yet. And it might never happen. But we tremble at the thought that it will. The more uncertain the future becomes, the scarier it becomes. Fear enters the picture and before we know it the snowball is an avalanche and it’s aimed right at us.
When my Dad was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2014, I asked him how he felt about it, now that he knew. “I’m not scared,” he said. “Now we know. Now it has a name and I know what I’m fighting.” And fight he did; chemo, radiation, testosterone shots. And he beat it. His last PSA reading was 0.0 – cancer-free!
If Dad had busied himself wringing his hands instead of doing what had to be done and leaving the future in God’s hands, he’d be dead.
Having faith doesn’t make us immune from life. We’ll have bad days and weak moments. Faith does mean that all those temporal things don’t matter. It means we’re not alone or forgotten. It means we have a future.
Easter’s coming, and we should remember that Jesus Christ endured unimaginable anxiety in the week between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. He didn’t want to be tortured and crucified, but He yielded to His father’s plan … “thy will, not mine, be done.” And because He did, we don’t have to be afraid anymore.
If there is a pandemic we need to concentrate on, it is fear more than Covid-19. President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood the concept. When he became president in 1933, he told a country battered by The Great Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
We don’t even have to fear fear. All we need to know is spelled out in this selection from the Oldies but Goodies closet: