In Wall Street, we have an index we use to actually gauge Fear: the VIX Index. Today, it spiked to levels last seen in the existential financial crisis of 2008-09. Over the weekend, I received an email from an investment contact of mine in the Far East. He's no longer a believer in God. His closing salutation, responding to my "I am praying for you", struck me as particularly sad, "You go ahead and pray for me. I'll hope for you." What does this comment from a secularist and the fear gauge breaking to new highs today have in common? Fear. It strikes that a reason so many have become so terribly fearful of Corona is that in a post-Christian world, death is final. Complete. Over. There is no "Hope" of the Christian kind, the Hope that life has conquered death, that we are all destined for something greater when our time here passes. Hope instead becomes an expression of fear, that the end is nigh and we can only "hope" for a lucky break to save us. Not very comforting. To be truly "Not Afraid", I have to believe in the eternal. Christian Hope has a depth to it that transcends the present. Without it, we cling so desperately to the one life we appear to have, we are prone to panic if that life is threatened. We are panicking now.
So my advice tonight is the advice I gave to Kelly Evans' viewers on CNBC a week ago: Remain calm and deliberate. Make sure your spiritual life is in order-- always a good thing, but particularly in times like this, a key thing. It is foundational to remaining calm. And then, with your soul quiet, stay the course. Take precautions for sure. Consider the facts, certainly. But don't panic. Be Not Afraid.