Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think about such things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8,9
These days our minds are jammed with the ever changing facts and advisories concerning the Corona virus. On top of that is the added stress of “sheltering in place,” teaching the children at home, while also trying to work at home. We suffer the anxiety of the unexpected. Where will I get the groceries and household items we need? Why are the shelves bare? We worry whether businesses will survive and whether we will still have jobs when all the danger has passed. We worry about our loved ones and neighbors catching the disease.
There is an antidote to all the worry, stress, and anxiety. The Apostle Paul invites us to redirect our attention. For just a moment or two clear your mind of all those worrisome thoughts. Think instead on “whatever things are true.” There are truths more important than the Corona virus. Christ is true. His salvation is true. Your forgiveness is true. God is true, and all his promises are true. Think about that. “Whatever things are noble.” There is great nobility all around us. Think of the nobility of the EMTs, policemen, firefighters, doctors and nurses and hospital staff that face this disease head on, ready to sacrifice their own health in order to serve others. That is truly noble, just, and pure. “Whatever things are lovely.” With all of its dangers, death, and disease, the world is still a beautiful place. Today the bright Spring sun shines in a blue sky. Soon the grass will turn green and the trees will bud and leaf out. The wild flowers will grow and the birds will sing. Your children are beautiful and your friends, though at a distance now, are still lovely. Think of these things! “Whatever things are of good report.” The news on television and the other media is obsessed with reporting on the virus and its victims. Turn it off. Watch it five minutes in the morning and five at night, and you’ll have the whole story well enough. Instead, strive to find things of good report. Neighbors helping neighbors, communities pulling together, new soup kitchens opening, churches offering devotions and video worship services and Bible studies. Those kinds of things are virtuous and praise worthy. Think about such things. “The things which you learned and received and head and saw in me, these do.” Yes, above all, take time to read, study, and meditate on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, handed down to us by Paul and the other Apostles. The Good News of Jesus Christ does not change. He still rules and reigns from the Father’s right hand in heaven. You are still forgiven and redeemed. Your place in the Father’s House remains prepared for you. Christ remains your constant companion through life, especially in these dangerous times. “And the God of peace will be with you.” That’s right. Think on these things and see how the God of Peace is with you.
Lord God, our minds and hearts are easily filled with worries, fears, and anxiety. Help us follow Paul’s example to take a few moments each day and “Think on such things.” We know you are with us even in our worries and fears, but chase them all away by filling us with your Peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.