If you have been following my column, you know one of the things I planned to work on this year is building upon my inner peace. Well, I asked for it and I got a pandemic. That will force you to either find inner peace pretty quickly or lose all control.

I have a confession to make.

After I wrote the first column about finding inner peace, I received numerous letters, messages on social media and phone calls from people who encouraged me to focus on my relationship with God. I appreciated those thoughts, suggestions and well-wishes. However, these things are not new to me. I know scripture by heart. I’ve been taught well and I have the inner peace that my well-wishers were lovingly trying to bring to me. My strategy as a writer is to provide others with important things to think about and allow them to find that inner peace without nagging them. They have to find it for themselves. They have to willingly accept the peace that God offers.  

Over the past few weeks, my thoughts have changed. I have seen people panic over COVID-19, causing more fear, anxiety and angst among people than I have ever witnessed. There is no shortage of food or toilet paper, yet those are the two things that people are selfishly hoarding due to fear of the unknown.

The Bible tells us to “Fear the Lord.” What that means is to have reverence and respect for Him. It does not mean to run from Him and panic. It means to trust what He says to be true. When we do that, we establish inner peace by default. I suppose that’s why I didn’t panic when COVID-19 was announced. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. I couldn’t believe the panic that I was (and still am) seeing.

I am concerned about the COVID-19 virus. I have to be because of my father, father-in-law and other close family and friends who are compromised. But I don’t fear it. I respect it. I listen to the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, our national, state and local leaders and I research what to do if something does go wrong within our family.

Because I am also concerned for you and your family, I will not hoard daily, essential items that you and I both need. I will not fear not being able to obtain those things because there is no shortage of them.

I am also not afraid of dying. I am fully prepared to meet the Lord at any time, day or night. I have that inner peace. I never worry about it. I never dwell on it. I live my life on a daily basis with an appreciation for every beautiful day I have with the people I love and those who love me. I am prepared in my heart and mind.

I choose not to make God the direct topic of my columns because I write an opinion column, not a religion column. However, if you’ll watch, I use Biblical principles as often as I can in order to reflect how I reach my personal opinion.

That is just who I unapologetically am.

With that being said, if you have found yourself in panic mode, please stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself some important questions. Think critically about why you are panicked and why you might be selfishly hoarding basic necessities that you are inadvertently preventing others from having.

What makes it more necessary for you to have toilet paper that will last you a year than it is for your neighbor to have enough for a month? Why would you need cases of canned vegetables, soups and bagged rice when your neighbor has none? Does fear drive your actions? What is the thing that you fear most? Is it dying? Is it protecting your family? Wouldn’t it be nice to live with peace of mind that no matter what, you will be fine because you are fully protected by your creator, the One who loves you most? This is my truth, not merely my opinion. I will be still and I will not fear.

It takes a lot of time to develop that kind of faith, so I will ask you to begin now. There are many just like you out there, evidenced by the panicked actions we have witnessed over the past few weeks.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” Matthew 6:33

My opinion this week, in a nutshell, is this: If the masses would fear not knowing Jesus before they die as much as they have feared not having toilet paper over the past few weeks, we would have a far more beautiful, compassionate, caring world to live in.

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