There’s nothing like a global pandemic to shake up everyone’s view of normal and comfortable. We spend a lot of our life working to find ways to make things regular, normal, constant, and controlled. In what seems like no time at all, “It’s not a big deal” escalated to school shutdowns, restaurant closures, and gatherings limited to ten people. “Normal” just went out the window.

Right now it can feel like standing on the fence between ignorance and panic. Do I prepare or do I stress out? We simultaneously say, “It’s totally fine!” while asking, “Is it actually fine?” We try to stay informed with the latest news, while also not falling prey to the media creating a rising panic in our hearts. How do God’s people stare down a great unknown and beat back panic?

In my attempt at maintaining normal, I’ve continued to plod along in my “Through the Bible in a Year” plan and right now I am deep in Numbers. Seemingly, not a book that has any answers for a time like this. However, making my way to the chapters in the teens, I began to see that the situation of the Israelites actually feels exactly like the world I see outside my window and in the news.

Mass panic and worry and fear. Everybody wondering what’s next. Second guessing decisions, people saying, “We should have…!” Day-by-day awaiting new news, hoping for new provision. Fearing societal crumble and economic depression. Sounds like your news feed? I’m actually talking about the Israelites in Numbers. A people, wandering the wilderness, every new day wondering if they will eat, if their family will survive, if they will die in the desert, wishing they made different decisions (i.e. staying in Egypt. Slavery is better than the wilderness! – Num. 14:2). The text calls this a ‘breaking of faith’ in the One who promised to keep them every day, the Creator God. Their faith is so broken that as they are called to check out the land that God is providing for them they turn back in fear and terror (Num. 13:25-29). They look at a great unknown, a large terrifying next step, and say “nope!” Panic breaks out, the people weep and wail, it all seems like the end (Num. 14:1-4). 

There is one guy, however, who does a different type of math. As the Israelites are calculating the size of their army and the size of the people they have to face, there is one guy who knows the size of his God. The people calculate the odds, they run the stats and predict the outcome, and despair. Caleb calculates the odds and his math is this: “The LORD is with us, do not fear.” (Num. 14:9)

You didn’t wake up today needing to invade a land or rally an army. This is not about gaining a ‘promised land’ in our life, or fighting giants. However, we are facing a great unknown and ever-changing ‘next steps’ without certainty of the outcome. The threat of mass panic and fear falls the same on you and me and our neighbors. What if we could adopt a mind like Caleb in this time of Corona? What if we did the same math? Even when the odds seem bleak, our multiplying factor is this: “God is with us.” No matter what faces us. No matter what odds stack up against us. No matter what uncertainty lies. No matter if we wonder about our ‘daily bread’ (or toilet paper). One factor stays the same; the Lord is with us.

Even when the odds seem bleak, our multiplying factor is this: ‘God is with us.’ Click To Tweet

God in Christ is with us and he says “Behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20). His Spirit is in us giving us a mind like Christ, a heart of faith, and the courage to trust Him even in the unknown. The Lord is with us. We have nothing to fear.