When it comes to the defeating fear and its negative effects on your health, there is only one true foundation for a positive, immune-boosting outlook during a pandemic: faith in God and His biblical promises. Faith underlies all healthy thinking and living, and I strongly encourage you to base every thought and opinion you have on the written Word of God. Get it inside of your mind and heart and let it define you.
When fear presents itself, you will find yourself saying, "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind." You might surprise yourself with what comes out! I guarantee your faith will form a powerful shield of protection, spiritually and physically.
In Cleveland, a patient who beat COVID-19 left a handwritten message of faith on the wall of his isolation room for the ICU medical staff at the Cleveland Clinic to read. The message read in part, "Today I leave this ICU a changed person, hopefully for the better, not only because of your medical healing & God's direction and guidance, but with the fact of knowing that there are such wonderful people dedicated to the care and concern of others. God bless each of you."
Encourage yourself with the many uplifting stories during the COVID-19 pandemic of people young and old healing from the virus. The words of Dr. Fuhrman represent my firm view that "Even the more virulent and dangerous flu strains, such as the avian flu, stand little chance against a truly healthy immune system." Our immune systems thrive when we stand on the Word of God and declare His truth over any potential threat.
Voice Your Faith
Our biggest task as believers is to not let a pandemic build a stronghold in our thought lives. Fear acts like enemy propaganda on our health, weakening us, making us afraid, inviting illness and defeat. I recommend that every believer quote specific Scriptures aloud multiple times throughout the day. Meditate on them and end the day by speaking them aloud again. The Word of God builds a fortress of faith in our minds and lives. It breaks down any strongholds of fear and worry that the enemy may have begun to build through news reports, social media or interactions with fear-filled people.
To live by faith is to literally choose life over death. Romans 8:5-6 (NKJV) says, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Our response to pandemics should not be like the world's response.
Even if we have to get up early to go to the store to buy supplies or cancel travel and business plans or wear protective gear, we do not have to be anxious as other people might be. Peace can spread through a group of people just as fast as anxiety can. A pandemic is our time to be leaders, tone setters, atmosphere changers and overcomers in our communities and families.
A great Scripture to read aloud during a pandemic is one that many quoted and preached from during COVID-19: Psalm 91. Read it aloud and insert your name and the names of your loved ones wherever it says "you." For example, verse 3 would read, "Surely He shall deliver me and my family from the snare of the fowler."
Another foundational verse for immune-boosting faith is 2 Timothy 1:7. Again, personalize it by saying, "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." A third example is Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV), which you can read aloud this way: "I am not anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I present my requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus."
I encourage you to go further. Use any extra time you have to study a specific book or theme of the Bible in greater depth. Take an online Bible course to deepen your knowledge and bolster your faith. Connect with others by holding Zoom Bible studies or creating prayer groups by conference call or text. This might even be a good time to reconnect with people with whom you have a strained relationship. Maybe forgiveness is needed. Maybe there just needs to be a good, positive conversation to say, "I care for you and hope you're doing well." Take what the enemy intended for ill in the pandemic and use it to advance God's kingdom in your life.
Make sure to keep a journal of these things to encourage yourself and to record the growth that happened during that season. Fill it with statements of gratitude and praise, testimonies of God's faithfulness and protection during the crisis and anything you feel God speaking to your heart. These will fill your heart with faith, gratitude and a sense of celebration when you read over them. All of this will enhance your immune response and contribute to overall physical health.
Look for Miracles
In addition to looking for "good news" stories of recovery, pay attention to miracles happening in your own life. For example, right away during COVID-19, I could see that telemedicine would be a big part of the future of medicine and I felt the Lord speak to me about it. Though I was limited in the number of patients I could see during the pandemic, since many of my patients fly in from all over the U.S. and the world, I could treat them through a video screen. Neither of us had to wear a mask. The patient didn't have to go into public and be worried about catching something. Of course, I couldn't check their vital signs, but I was amazed at how much I could diagnose through a screen.
I believe God has plans for you in every crisis, every pandemic, every difficulty that comes upon the world, to advance you and take you higher in every way. Stand on faith and watch the miracles He performs for you.
Don Colbert, M.D., has been a board-certified family practice doctor for more than 25 years in Orlando, Florida, and most recently in Dallas, Texas. He is also a New York Times' bestselling author.
Excerpted from Dr. Don Colbert's book, Pandemic Protection (Charisma House 2020).
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