Victim Mentality
February 21, 2020
One Messed up Family
March 24, 2020

Standing Firm in the Face of Panic

We are living through a severe pandemic, the COVID-19. I think most of us have all been following the guidelines that have been issued by government officials. What has caught my attention even more than the Corona Virus is the panic that seems to be spilling forth from the media every day. It is evident from our grocery stores that panic causes hoarding. People out of fear buy five times the amount of things they actually need, thus costing shortages for the rest. This panic seems to be more contagious than the virus.

As Christians, we need to affirm our faith in the Lord, his word, and our ultimate destination, heaven. If we do, that panic will have no place in our lives. On the contrary, we will have a peace that testifies to the presence of God in our minds and hearts. I love the writings of C. S. Lewis though some of them are a little difficult for me—I have found some of the most profound things in his writing. Here is an example of that insight when he addressed the world-wide panic about the atomic bomb 72 years ago:

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays

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