Sunday, May 10, 2020

When Fear Rules

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

All around, I witnessed fear. 

“I can’t find eggs for under four dollars a dozen, and I’m not gonna pay that,” one of my church members said as we talked on the phone. “Nor can I find any toilet paper.” 

The Coronavirus pandemic has made people act in weird—even illogical—ways. Hoarding toilet paper is one of them. After a while, this practice became a joke and the topic of many Memes. I laughed as I looked at them…but not when I, like my friend, went to store after store and couldn’t find any toilet paper. Or when I had to get to the store as soon as they opened to purchase only one pack after stores put a limit on how many packs a customer could purchase.
“Eggs are just over a dollar a dozen at Food Lion,” I told my friend, “and they do have toilet paper early in the morning.” He told me he wasn’t an early riser, so I knew why he couldn’t find any. 

“Do you want us to bring you some when we come to church Sunday morning?” Even though we were only live streaming, we still went to the church building to record the sermon. 

“Yes,” he said, relief in his voice. He was running low on toilet paper. 

Early the next morning, my wife and I headed to the grocery store and made his purchases…and some of our own. 

Not long after our conversation with this church member, another one texted my wife, “Could you see if you can find some bread-making flour and packs of yeast for me? The shelves here are empty.” She lived in the same small town as our other friend. 

We added those items to the list, but when we went to the grocery store early that morning, we had no luck with her items. Seems she wasn’t the only one who had turned to making homemade bread since the shelves were often emptied of manufactured bread. 

I’ve never experienced what the Coronavirus has done to people. Fear and anxiety rule. Worry follows. Stores can’t keep toilet paper on the shelves, even though diarrhea is not a symptom of Coronavirus. Other paper products disappeared as well. So did hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and Clorox. Hoarders—even though they should have already had things hoarded—emerged from the woodwork and added to their stash. Meat disappeared from meat counters. Getting what we needed required early trips to the grocery store or multiple trips to several stores. 

Listening to the news didn’t help. The President and his Coronavirus Task Force Team came on almost daily, reminding me of President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats during the Great Depression. And weekly, the governor of my state gave local updates and changes. 

Initially, I let the hoarders do the fearing and worrying, but the more I listened to the news, the more I felt fear creeping into my life. Scenes of people fighting over toilet paper didn’t help. Nor did seeing hundreds of people waiting at food pantries, hearing about the rising number of unemployed, or watching the military build field hospitals. Things that reminded me of war times. And we were in a war. 

To top things off, the South witnessed a string of deadly April tornadoes—tornadoes that stayed on the ground for miles at a time, destroying homes and businesses and taking lives. Talking to my cousin, who’s a first responder, didn’t help. She told me about a little girl who had been impaled on a tree. 

When fear rules, anxiety and worry aren’t far behind. But Paul tells us God hasn’t given those things. Rather, He sends a sound mind. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

Fear comes in two varieties: the “I’m afraid of” type, and the “respect” type. The first is healthy if it relates to dangerous situations I’m trying to avoid or remove myself from. But if the things I fear are imaginary—things that might happen but haven’t—and those things control me, leading me to live in a constant state of fear, I then live in an unhealthy state of mind. The respect type of fear is good, especially as it relates to God. He has life and death power over me. I respect and love Him because He’s my God and has provided for my forgiveness. 

When the right type of fear rules our life, we won’t worry, fear, or be anxious. God controls our tomorrows. He knows what we need, and just as He cares for His creation and creatures, He’ll care for us. When we trust Him with all situations and circumstances, He’ll remove our anxieties and give us a peace we can’t explain. On top of it all, He’ll give us a sound mind, which cannot co-exist with fear. 

Letting the wrong kind of fear rule our life leads to hoarding, manipulating, killing, and all types of selfish acts. The right kind of fear leads us to selfless living where we trust God and love our neighbors. 

Don’t let the wrong kind of fear rule your life. 


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.


  1. Fear makes people do irrational decisions. Your post is timely.
    And yet, the Lord itself is our strength and comfort in fearful times.
    Great post, Martin.

  2. I've only just recently found yeast in the stores. I'm still trying to figure out why tp...the dried beans I can't find make sense, but tp? Enjoyed your post. I use 2 Tim. 1: 7 a lot in my memes.

  3. I pray we remember fear is not from the Lord. Praying for this virus to be gone. Praying we all show compassion and the love of God to everyone.

  4. Thank you so much for your message. I struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, so this virus has only exacerbated it. But I need to rely on God to calm my anxiety.