Don't Panic

When you’re asked not to think of a pink elephant, what comes to mind?

When someone in authority says, “There’s no need to panic buy”, what do people do?

I found out two Saturdays ago as I was just about to drive home from a short trip to visit friends in Suffolk. Happily, I was able to fill up my almost empty tank after driving 10 miles to the nearest service station which had fuel. But driving back round the M25 I passed sign after sign saying “No fuel” at any of the motorway services.

18 months ago it was loo rolls; now it’s fuel; next week, who knows?

We buy stuff mainly because we need stuff, but what makes people panic buy? Is it a fear of scarcity, missing out, the unknown, or losing control? Maybe a bit of each. It certainly feels more comfortable when life is predictable.

Conventional British wisdom says, “Keep calm and carry on”. Mindfulness practitioners suggest we breathe and let things be.

But if you’re anything like me, that doesn’t come easy.

Going through the New Testament with others this year, I’ve been keeping up with the daily readings (well, mostly anyway) but I’ve found it hard to get past Paul’s verses about love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). I have heard them countless times but am only beginning to realise how vital they are to everyday living. And 101% practical too.

“Love is patient and kind and doesn’t envy …”

Hmmm … how do I match up? Does love motivate my every aspiration, every attitude, every action? Sadly, not. For me it’s, “Guilty, as charged, your honour.”

And love isn’t passive. It’s deliberate, intentional, proactive. It’s counter-intuitive. It undermines our failure, anxiety, envy, anger, bitterness and every other shortcoming and overstepping. Panic too …

And it trusts. We have a Father who knows every need and promises to care for us and who has already given us ‘every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus’.

Paul also wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love”.

So my challenge is to realise more clearly what I have and what I’ve been promised and to respond.

And you?

(PS Sorry about the pink elephant. That image may stay with you for a while.)
Angus Lyon