In Mormon 6, the Nephites face what they know will be the final destruction of their people at the hands of the Lamanites. Knowing the end is near and that God has commanded that the Nephite records not fall into the hands of the Lamanites, Mormon buries all but a few of the records in the Hill Cumorah. He then describes the attitude of the people as the Lamanite armies approach:
“And it came to pass that my people…did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.” (Mormon 6:7)
How different the above would read if the Nephite people were serving the Lord at this time. First of all, they might not be facing death at all but, even if they were, they would know that they would soon be on their way to paradise, so either way they would have no need to fear.
As I am writing this, there is a disease known as the coronavirus that is making its way through the world, causing considerable fear for many people. After all, nobody likes to be sick, and this particular disease is highly contagious. You can be a carrier for up to 14 days without even showing symptoms, and some number of people are dying from it.
However, even as we take certain prescribed precautions to limit the spread of the disease, we should keep in mind that God is ultimately in control of the situation. So, if you believe in God and you are serving God righteously, you have no need to fear.
By saying that the righteous need not fear, are we saying that anybody who serves God will not get the coronavirus? No, each of us is living in the flesh, so we’re all subject to the perils of life, and some number of us could possibly get the virus. However, we still don’t need to fear. Here’s why:
- We are blessed with God’s protection: Whether God chooses to preserve us in our mortality or to simply embrace our souls, we can be courageous through His power. When we are working for the Lord, we can be confident of His protection. For example, it’s been our experience that ministers typically don’t get sick as a result of anointing the sick. So, while it’s not a time to be reckless — especially with the threat of a 14-day quarantine looming — it’s also not a time to totally forget about the work of the Lord. Even while the church is cooperating with the nation in temporarily suspending gatherings, we don’t need to fear to be in each other’s presence if the Lord is so directing.
- We have an additional resource when we are sick: If we happen to get the virus, there is medical attention that can be sought, plus the large majority of people do recover. However, in addition to that, we can look to the Lord and seek healing from Him. “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:15-16).
- Even in the worst case, we don’t need to fear: We of course don’t want this to happen to any of us but, even if we were to be facing death, we wouldn’t face it with “that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked” but rather with the peace and confidence of knowing that we are on our way to the paradise of God (where we all hope to be someday).
So, in the face of a threat such as this — or anything similar that comes in the future — be wise and take appropriate precautions, but don’t live in fear. God’s got this. And, in terms of being able to spread the gospel, remember that the way we live our lives in a time of crisis goes a lot further toward demonstrating who we are as people of God than how we live our lives when everything is good. Showing that we are not fearful when everyone around us is having a meltdown will go a long way toward showing that we have something that others should desire.
“The righteous need not fear.” (1 Nephi 22:17)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.