But there's something more contagious that often we don't guard against: fear.
Amy Carmichael says, "Have you ever thought how infectious fear can be? It spreads from one person to another more quickly and certainly than any of the fevers we know so well.
You can refuse the spirit of fear, which never comes to us from God. (And if He does not send it to us, who does?) Instead, open your heart wide to the Spirit of "power and love and a calm and well-balanced mind, and discipline and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified). Because fear is so infectious, let us, for the sake of others and ourselves, refuse it."
I think we, as women, often don't "refuse it." We share it! We sit in groups having coffee while our kids play and discuss our fears, sharing what we're most afraid of, and... exposing each other to it. When someone shares a fear with me, I usually do one of two things: I think to myself, "Oh, I've never been afraid of that. That's not a struggle of mine." (Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 1 Cor. 10:12) Or I think, "Oh, you're right! That could happen. Wow, I never thought of that..." and fear takes root. At both points, I can refuse it... take that thought captive to Christ, resist the fear.
It's not that we shouldn't ever share, but that we should take care how we share and with whom, I think. When I have an illness I cancel appointments with my friends but I make one with the doctor. I limit exposing those who might be vulnerable to it, and go to someone like a doctor who is not only equipped for exposure, but able to help. Maybe instead of broadcasting my fears far and wide at gatherings of friends, I should share them with someone who I know is walking firmly with the Lord, who can commit to pray with me about it or offer advice from his or her own victory.
Carmichael says, "Thank God courage is as "infectious" as discouragement. Haven't you often felt the cheer and strength that seem to flow from a person whose mind is fixed and firm on God? I have." I have, too. Not only do I want to be around that type of person, I want to be that person. Sometimes I am. I have been in the past. But repeated exposure to the fears of others can weaken me, I've found, if I don't regularly inoculate myself with Truth and limit my exposure to the "fear virus."
She says, "When we are downhearted or fearful or weak, we are saying to everybody (by the way we look and by our timidity, if not by our words), 'After all, the Lord can't be absolutely trusted.' "
And that is more dangerous than any virus that's out there right now. We must, for the sake of ourselves and others, refuse fear and not spread it. Let's remind each other of our Savior Who has never, not once, failed us.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24