A coronavirus hero made headlines in April, sadly, for taking her life. Dr. Lorna Breen, medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, died in Charlottesville, Virginia, while visiting her parents.
Breen described endless scenes of devastation and disaster as patient after patient lost his or her fight with Covid-19. Eventually, toiling in the trenches took its toll.
Now, along with unemployment numbers soaring and deaths still climbing, the latest concerns relate to worker burnout and post-traumatic stress issues. Experts warn of an imminent rise in deaths of despair contributed to suicides and substance-abuse.
Healthcare workers carry a heavy burden as they deal with the duress of caring for the seriously ill. On top of that battle, some face the added pressures of an unemployed spouse, aging parents practicing social distancing, or other loved ones in long-term care facilities on lockdown.
The pressure is relentless. One nurse said, “We want to save as many people as we can and when we have all these people who die anyway, it makes you feel like a failure.”
In the midst of pressure, we need peace. On the night before His crucifixion (talk about traumatic!), Jesus gathered His disciples in the Upper Room to share instruction and encouragement. In John 16:33, He stated, “These things I have spoken to you (everything from John 13 to this point), that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
The word tribulation describes a pressing, like a millstone crushing grain. Jesus promises the reality of pressure in this life. Yet, He said in Him, we can possess peace even as we face various pressures.
Catch the contrast:
In the world, tribulation;
In Me, peace.
Jesus said earlier this peace He gives is the same peace He experiences. In John 14:27, Jesus stated, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled …”
Peace is not just the absence of chaos; peace is tranquility in the midst of chaos. Think about this acrostic. How can we have PEACE while facing life’s pressures?
P – Place your trust in God. Jesus said our focus is either on the world or on Him. On circumstances or on Jesus. Choose, with God’s help, to focus on Jesus and trust in Him. He is Lord. When the world goes nuts, Jesus still sits on His throne. Isaiah 26:3 reads, “You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
E – Enjoy today. One of the greatest joy-stealers in life is stewing over yesterday’s regrets and fearing tomorrow’s uncertainties. Mother Theresa said, “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet come; we must live each day as if it were our last so when God calls us we are ready and prepared to die with a clean heart.” (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/608590-yesterday-is-gone-and-tomorrow-has-not-yet-come-we).
Wisely plan for tomorrow but live for Him, glorify Him and walk closely with Him today. Today is a gift so make today count.
A – Apply His promises. How many promises are found in the Bible? One count totals 3,573. The word promise itself occurs fifty times in the King James Version. A website entitled dailybiblepromise.com invites us to sign up and receive a Bible promise every day. It’s one thing to know God’s promises; it’s another thing to apply God’s promises. Do you claim the promises of God?
C – Commit your way to the Lord. Psalm 37:5 reads, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”
E – Employ Christian resources. There is no shame in reaching out for professional help, preferably from Christian counselors called and equipped to assist when we need additional support, whether grief counseling, managing depression, or processing PTSD issues.
One law enforcement official said, “Sometimes us wearing a uniform, we’re less inclined to want to reach out for help because you’re coming to us for help . . . we feel that we can’t show we have a weakness.” The fact is, everyone has weaknesses.
Will you allow the peace of God to fill your life?
[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Join them online Sundays at 10:55 by visiting www.mcdonoughroad.org and choosing one of the streaming options. Contact Chancey at email@example.com. Check out his book, “The Day I Nearly Met Dolly: Tales of Faith, Family and a Few Homeruns” on Amazon.]