Finding Peace In Times Of Uncertainty And Terror

Practical tips to help turn our hearts upward when surrounded by fear

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I have never met a person that enjoyed the loss of control. It is during times of crisis, when we cannot solve our problems on our own, that our faith is truly tested. Either panic and fear overtake us, and prove our spiritual foundation unsteady, or our faith is refined as we take God at His Word and stand in His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 31:6).  

After 9/11, the churches were suddenly flooded with individuals who did not normally attend (or even claim to believe in God) - dire times drove many on a quest for hope. Often, we do not know how much we need God until God is all we have. The truth is, no matter what crisis surrounds us (whether something like 9/11 or the current global Covid-19 pandemic), there is tremendous peace available for anyone willing to put their trust God . . . but practically even Christians can find it hard to acquire.  So during these times of uncertainty (or even times of terror), how can we change our perspective from one of fear to one of faith?

1 - Focus on what God is doing, not what the enemy is doing. 

Our life is filled with storms that are real. These times can be terrifying to our flesh, especially if we allow our thoughts to become consumed with thoughts of doom versus thoughts of who God is and what He can do. 

We have a need to be informed, but we do not have a need for constant inundation by the media with fearful scenarios and tragic stories of loss. Flooding our mind with such things can distort reality and paralyze us with fear.

For some people, the first step to calming inner anxiety may be to simply decrease time on Facebook or avoid watching the news for a while . . . or at least redirect what type of news they are watching. Where the mind goes the heart follows, so tuning into a different frequency can help us re-orientate our hearts and restore joy even in the midst of the storm.

When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mom would always say “look for the helpers – you will always find people who are helping. – Mister Rogers

As Daniel Geraci, executive director of Austin Disaster Relief Network pointed out, “Satan cannot give compassion, mercy, or love . . . so the moment you see love it is God; the moment you see mercy it is God. He is the first responder, the last responder, and He never leaves. (Lamentations 3:21-24)

Instead of ruminating on the problem, what if we looked for the places God is at work through His people? What if we turned our attention to stories of hope instead of stories of disaster?

2 – Choose carefully your thoughts

We empower what we focus on. The greatest battle for our peace is often the one in our mind (Romans 12:2), which is why Scripture directs us to focus on that which is “true, excellent, pure, and lovely” (Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:2). This may not come natural to those who have a habit of worrying, but it is not our battle to fight; it is our battle to surrender (2 Chronicles 20:15).

 When the devil comes knocking at your door, let Jesus answer it. – Watchman Nee

The enemy wants us to believe we are powerless, but our faith is not measured by our feelings (Hebrews 11:1). Our job is not to stop “feeling afraid,” but rather to choose to take captive every thought and surrender it to Christ . . . for HIM to manage (2 Corinthians 10:5). As we continue to engage our will over and over and submit our worries to God, we can rewire the patterns in our brain to a new default . . . one of peace and trust. We were never designed to live in fear; we were designed to rule and reign with Christ, and it is time we take back our legal rights to this authority. Through Jesus, God has empowered us to be the gatekeepers of our mind . . . so we do not have to accept every thought. WE get to choose what dwells there (2 Timothy 1:7).

3 – Find ways to serve others.

Our human nature drives us to self-protect, often with a “survival of the fittest” mentality. The hoarding of food and supplies during Covid-19 is just one example of this. However, this “every man for himself” approach contradicts the directive of Scripture. The parable of the rich fool clearly warns us not to be selfish with what we have (Luke 12:13-21). In the end, we will reap what we sow (2 Corinthians 9:6) - when we are generous towards others (with our time, money, or love), God is generous towards us.

As believers, we share in the inheritance of Christ and have access to everything in God’s kingdom. We were never designed to live in a poverty mindset; we were created to be people of abundance and overcoming (John 10:10). So, what ways can we partner with God to bring His redemptive purposes in the midst of a pandemic? 

As Christians, we should have that thing about us when all hell is breaking loose, we run with heaven. Sean Bolz

Maybe we sew masks for hospitals, or make a grocery run for our elderly neighbor.  Maybe we homeschool our neighbor’s kid because their parents are working at the hospital or we forgive our tenant’s rent for a few months because they lost their job (and we can absorb the loss). Maybe we seize the extended time with family to nurture these relationships in new ways or we embrace household responsibilities with new joy (like cooking meals together or getting the house clean and orderly).  Or maybe we simply focus on protecting others through our commitment to social distancing.

There are numerous ways we can seize this time and opportunity for good, and when we focus our efforts outward not inward, our disabling fears begin to lose their power. (Read more on this in the article, “Don’t Waste Your Life”).

4 – Ask God to increase your faith. 

Whether you are a devout believer or a devout atheist, God is not afraid of your questions . . . and He NEVER turns away a heart in pursuit of Him (Jeremiah 29:13). God does not want us to just pretend everything is okay; He wants intimacy with us, which is rooted in authenticity. It is the very process of wrestling through our doubts and struggles with God that nurtures this friendship. (Read more on this in the article, "When Your Prayers Go Unanswered").

The Lord is waiting for us to cry out for comprehension and insight; He “has a hidden storehouse of wisdom made accessible to his godly lovers” (Proverbs 2:3, 2:7-8, 3:7). So, what if we turned our fears and concerns into prayers? What if we redirected our anxious energy and let it fuel our pursuit of God instead?

God does not despise our weaknesses. Victory comes from our dependence on Him, not from our own strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). Even the little faith we have is a gift, not something we muster up through effort . . . and it will grow as we exercise it. As we stand in the measure of faith we have been given, we give God space to move – we only need to pray, “I believe Lord; help my unbelief” (Matthew 9:23-25).

5 – Nurture a heart of gratitude.

The devil tries to defeat us through complaining, negativity, and fear . . . but we can disarm his efforts with a heart of gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In her book “Choose Joy,” Kay Warren defines joy as, “the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” There is nothing in that definition about happy feelings.

When we choose joy, we are not minimizing the pain in our lives; we are simply refusing to let that pain rule over us and rob us of the gifts that are still present. Warren writes, “While you’re experiencing something painful, there’s the glorious realization that there is still beauty and loveliness to be found. They are inseparable.”

When going through one of the most painful times in her life, my mom used to tell me over and over, “I have so much to be thankful for – my life is so good.” She chose to press through this season of immense suffering and loss by focusing on the blessings in her life.  Like Paul, she drew from Christ’s strength – she had learned the secret to being content in any circumstance (Philippians 4:11-13).

When my son was young, we taught him to pray by telling God three things he was thankful for that day . . . but couldn’t we all benefit from doing the same? Maybe we even start a “1000 things gratitude list” like Ann Voscamp did . . . and then return to this list when we need a reminder of all the good in our lives.

6 – Reframe your perspective with different “what ifs”

What if God is using Covid-19 to stop the world FOR us? 

What if He wanted to still the busyness that had consumed us to teach us the gift of rest? What if He wanted to give us time to finally establish order in our house? What if He wanted us to stop depending on our portfolios and learn that we could TRULY trust Him as our provider?  What if He wanted to remind us how precious our friends and family are so we no longer take them for granted? What if our forced time at home was meant to strengthen the family unit and thus strengthen the foundation of a healthy culture? What if He wanted to highlight the beauty of humanity by inspiring us to come together in our time of need?

What if this whole pandemic is not about what is being taken from us, but what is being given to us? (See Francis Chan video below)

7 – Remember Jesus has NOT lost His place on the throne. 

God is never caught by surprise - there is nothing that happens in this world that does not first pass through God’s hands (though Satan would like us to believe that he has the upper hand). As he did with Adam and Even in the garden, Satan will whisper to us that we should question the goodness of God. But the truth is, God is STILL infinitely good and infinitely sovereign over ALL . . . even in our most trying circumstances. (Read more on this in the article, “How Could A Good God Allow so Much Suffering?”)

After the 9/11 crisis, John Piper explained, “The reason this terrorized and troubled world exists is not because God is not in total control . . . nor is it because God is evil or unjust. Rather, the reason this terrorized and troubled world exists is because God planned the history of redemption and then permitted sin to enter the world through our first parents, Adam and Eve. He subjected the natural world to futility so that followers of Christ can experience and display that no pleasure and no treasure compares to knowing Christ.” The sorrow in this fallen world highlights our need for Jesus Christ the Son of God to suffer and die for our sins . . . and compels us to seek and find our true hope and satisfaction in Him. 

God’s deepest answer to terrorism and calamity is the suffering and death of his Son. - John Piper

Scripture warns us that in this world we will encounter suffering, but it also reminds us we can be at peace . . . because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33, Isaiah 26:3). Once we are in Christ, we are assured of healing and victory . . . whether in this lifetime or the next (Philippians 3:20).

As Dallas Willard put it, “My peace is the greatness of God. Because He, who not only loves me but IS love, is so great, I live beyond harm in His hands, and there is nothing that can happen to me that will not turn out for my good. Nothing.”

Though it may feel as if God is silent at times, He has not forgotten us (Deuteronomy 31:6) . . . and no matter how daunting our circumstances seem, His light ALWAYS overcomes the darkness (John 1:5).


I lift my eyes up to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.  

Psalm 121

Further Resources:

"Choose Joy" book by Kay Warren

video by Francis Chan

Carey McNamara

I am a wife to Bob, a mom to Connor, and a physician assistant who is passionate about beating heart disease. As a devoted lover of Jesus, I am on an unending quest for more truth, love, and wholeness through Him. I have come to a place in my life where I realize God is not afraid of my questions, and I have learned the joy of pursuing Him until I discover His heart. As a result, I created a blog to encourage others in their own journey towards Life, Liberty, and Love in Christ. I am passionate about doing life authentically in community, and am thrilled to share a bit of that with you here.

*Please comment respectfully. I welcome honesty as you share your thoughts and feelings. However, since many of these subjects are controversial, I ask that you take care to honor others in the process. I reserve the right to delete any inappropriate comments.