Why Our Faith Alone Cannot Give Us Peace
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.” (John 14:27-29, NLT)
I struggled over whether or not I would speak on this. Between the memes, the news, the hysteria, and the somehow innate feeling that all people have to comment on current events– as if it changes much of anything– I feel that what I have to say is of little to no consequence compared to the ocean of content concerning COVID-19.
Nevertheless, I am hearing some things from my fellow Christians that just don’t sit right with me, and although I know my thoughts are just a drop in the bucket, I do have to stand against the strange and unbiblical ideas that I see with a simple scroll through any of my social media outlets.
To be clear, here’s what I find to be true:
Yes, Christians have the indescribable privilege to lean back on the promises and the goodness of God in uncertain times. This is where God-given peace comes from.
Yes, God is our protector, our defender, and He is sovereign. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He’s not going to start making them on us.
Yes, God is bigger than the boogieman, and in this specific case, our boogieman has presented itself in the form of a worldwide pandemic.
And while all of this is true, I do not see anywhere in my Bible that says faith in the Lord will make me immune from catching this illness. Being a follower of Christ does not mean we get a free pass from walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Loving Jesus does not allow us an exemption card from suffering. Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord promise us that our faith alone will make us immune from any illness, including COVID-19.
Christians still get cancer. Christians still grapple with disabilities. Christians still deal with mental and physical illness. And if a Christian contracts coronavirus, it does not mean that they have less faith than a Christian that doesn’t. And here’s the kicker that may challenge some people reading out there: the degree of your faith alone does not have the power to keep you safe from disease.
That line of reasoning stems from problematic ideology. It takes the might and power off of the Lord where it belongs, and places it solely in your own ability to believe. Belief is powerful, yes, but that power must never come at the expense or the dampening of the power of the source, which is God the Father. Your faith is only powerful when it yields and glorifies the might of the Creator. The moment your faith refuses to bow before the King and says, “My own sheer belief in Jesus will protect me from this virus; and if you get it, you must not have believed enough,” is the moment that you have completely missed the point of your own salvation.
The belief that faith in the Lord will reward you with things like good health and lack of hardship, because it is somehow His will to give you a life without suffering. But that’s not faith; that’s prosperity gospel. Faith is not a bartering chip that earns you anything. Faith is the ability to stand on the promises of a good God and be able to trust that whatever may come– disease, poverty, and societal uncertainty– God still knows the end of the story and He is still good.
And that’s why, in times like these, we can enjoy the peace of mind and heart that Jesus has given us. Because when the world turns upside down and people start to lose their chill, Christians don’t have to fear because they can stand in the secure fact that even if they get sick, even if they can’t go to work, even if they can’t find a roll of toilet paper for miles– God is still good and we still have access to an eternal life after this one where we get to enjoy Him. Nothing can keep us from that promise that salvation gives to us.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)
So here’s the deal: Sure, we can get sick, but even if you do, there’s no reason to fear. Sure, our President can quarantine us all to our homes, but even if he does, there’s still no reason to fear. Why? Because the end is already known. The Lord will still reign victorious, and in sickness or in health, Jesus is still going to come back for His bride, the Church.
And as part of the Church, we have the coolest opportunity to use this very strange chapter of history as an evangelistic tool. Because I cannot imagine going through these days without the steadfastness of the Savior, and we all have coworkers, family members, and friends that are facing a lot of fear and uncertainty completely at the mercy of a hopeless world.
You can share the gift of peace that Jesus has left us. You can make room at the hem of His garment for someone else to grab a hold of. You have the ability to enjoy the fact that your salvation gives you the awesome ability to enter into peace, even when the world gets crazier by the hour. And not only that, but you have the opportunity to advance His kingdom by sharing the source of your peace with someone who might be facing some real fear today.
So don’t misplace your faith. It doesn’t have the power to make you exempt from suffering, but it does have the ability to give you perfect peace in the midst of a really unprecedented storm. So share it with someone else. Give someone else the life vest that Jesus has freely given to you.
Stay safe and walk in peace, out there, friends. I love you and hope you are encouraged to walk fearless this morning.