It was the beginning of the coronavirus  pandemic scare. We hadn’t even heard the term “COVID-19” yet. I was at the grocery store and noticed a young mother with a cartload of Lysol spray trying to contain her very active son. She grew mortified as he touched everything from the movie dispenser to the lottery machine.

“Stop touching everything!” she pleaded. “Get over here. Now!”

“But Momma.” He smiled engagingly. “I’m touching it with my elbows!” And with those words, he went into high gear, elbow bumping everything in sight while holding two Clorox wipes in his hands. It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen—until I realized how terrified his mother actually was because of the virus. As a mother, I could empathize with her. I asked the Lord to give her peace, and then I remembered a verse that I thought might encourage her.

It took a minute, but I finally got up the courage to approach her cart. “Excuse me, ma’am,” I said. “I can’t imagine how frightening it must be right now, trying to protect your son from germs. I also have children, and it’s scary. But I sense the Lord wanting to remind us that He is going to protect our children and us during these uncertain times.”

I started to share the verse on my heart, “God says to ‘Fear not—’” But before I could finish it, her little boy blurted out with conviction, “For. I. Am. With. You!”

His mother and I looked at each other in shock. “That’s his Bible verse for the week,” she explained.

This scene really encouraged me. I mean, what were the odds of that little boy blurting out the exact verse God gave me to share with his mother? I love God moments like this!

At the time, I had no idea how devastating COVID-19 would be to the entire world, or how it would impact my own life. With each darkening day, Isaiah 41:10 has remained a rock for me. It has kept me from being swayed by fear and all the “what if” scenarios my mind likes to imagine.

The rest of this verse tells us why we don’t have to be afraid. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Fear not. This isn’t a suggestion; it’s a command. That doesn’t mean we will never feel the emotion of fear. Fear will try to find a way to creep into our hearts and minds, but it doesn’t have to control us. That’s why God says, “Don’t be dismayed,” which means, don’t yield to fear or lose courage as you face tough times. Instead, we can put fear in its place by remembering that God is with us in every situation. And nothing is a match for Him!

Maybe today, you don’t feel like you have any courage or strength to face your current battle. Don’t worry, God does. Trust His presence in your life and refuse to let fear control you. He will help you and uphold you with His righteous right hand. (See Isaiah 40:28–31.)

So fear not. God. Is. With. You.