Do you want to know a proven Biblical principle for dealing with Covid fears?
This article offers an approach to cure the fear of Covid. It offers a mindset ingrained deep within the Bible: the theme that God is in control and has a plan. This is called the providence of God.
Out of control
From our eyes life is full of uncertainty. This gives the perception of life being out of control. For most people today this equates to fear, and sometimes manifests in anger.
A lot of the reactions we see around Covid come from this position. Anger at governments, vaccine rollouts, vaccine validity, restrictions, and lockdowns. They all come from a feeling that people have no control. And this uncertainty produces anxiety.
Like death and taxes, challenges in life are inevitable. However, the best attitude to have is “Zen Calvinism.”
Zen = heightened state of calm.
Calvinism = God is in control.
One of the best bits of advice on this topic is from Carl Trueman. Dr Trueman, a Pastor and theologian, has coined a phrase Zen Calvinismto describe his outlook: when he sees bad things happening, he remains calm because he knows God is in control.
So, when he reads of wars, he remembers Zen Calvinism. When he sees conflicts in his church or tensions in his community he looks to the concept of Zen Calvinism. When he wonders what hope there is in a world wrestling with the Covid situation, he thinks of Zen Calvinism.
What is Zen Calvinism?
In a nutshell it is pointing to the Biblical theme of when trouble strikes, trust in God's plan. When difficulties come, as they always will, stay calm like a Zen Master. And why such a state of calm? Because we know that God has the best answer because He is all wise, all loving and in complete control.
These themes are emphasized by church reformer John Calvin. The big technical word used is providence: God is all powerful, all wise and nothing is outside of His control. He will bring about all things for His glory. The result is that we can trust in Him completely. Calvin stressed this in his key teachings explaining we can have a deep peace grounded in God’s plan.
An application is that when we see a world in fear of a pandemic, its overflow of conspiracies, and stresses of life in lockdown, a Christian can have a deeper peace knowing God is in control. This is Zen Calvinism.
History shows this. The ultimate example is Jesus' death. His disciples fall apart as they see their Messiah die and their hopes of a new King had fallen away. Conspiracies abounded saying Jesus did not really die or that Jesus wasn’t really the promised Messiah.
Yet in this toxic environment of fear and doubt God shows the need for Zen Calvinism. In God's plan, Jesus conquers death, as well as sin, and as a result Jesus reigns forever (see 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 56-57). This had been part of God’s plan since the beginning and despite apparent “disasters” and fear, God brings about this plan of salvation for the world. The disciples should have known this "Zen Calvinism."
Keep calm and carry on
Looking through this lens of history, our problems can be seen in a new light. We can stay calm and carry on when trouble strikes. Not because of a "Pollyanna" positive attitude but because we know that God is in control.
He is a God of love and has a plan reflecting this through every situation. He cares for each of us and brings about His glory in our lives. As a result we can find a peace in His providence. Or as Dr Trueman coins it, Zen Calvinism.
Apply this to your own situation. When you wonder what good can come from the turmoil in Afghanistan and worry about the rise of a new Islamic Caliphate or even harbor conspiracies of secret Western government deals pulling the strings, then remember Zen Calvinism.
Or when stress arises from Covid changing our lifestyle, then remember Zen Calvinism. Isn’t this what Jesus explained in Matthew chapter 6 when he explained why we don’t need to worry?
I have found this attitude a remarkable release from the burdens of worry, even though I don't understand what has happened or what can be done to fix it. Yet I can see from the Bible that God has a plan and He has proven again and again that He will bring about this plan.
This includes how He is working in your life. This knowledge brings a deep peace: both in your mind but also between yourself and God as you turn back to Him.
So, while debate will continue to rise about Covid, vaccines, living in lockdown and its off-shooting conspiracies, the Bible’s message is clear: God is in control. God has a plan. And underlying our response and actions is Zen Calvinism.
Bonus – Baptist Pastor, John Piper, has a free e book on the ways God is working through Covid.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html