To be Sober in Times of Anxiety

A Devotional by Rev. Fidelcastro Quintana
Parish Pastor, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church,
Davao City, Mindanao District
April 8, 2020 | Holy Wednesday


Grace and peace be to you from God our Father the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God Father, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.


While most moderns would automatically define the word ‘sober’ as ‘not drunk,’ the Bible uses it to mean something of a spiritual nature. ‘Sober’ is translated from the Greek word that means to be sober:  calm and collected, to have good sense, good judgement, wisdom, and level-headed in times of stress.


COVID-19 PANDEMIC is now on its 5th week of threatening peoples from all walks of life regardless of race, religion, and social status. With 1,342,775 confirmed covid-19 cases and still counting and with 74,564 deaths worldwide.


Hundreds have closed shops. Businesses lose earnings. Workers were not allowed to work. Schools were closed including its recognition & graduation rites. Churches & other related religious gatherings were momentarily suspended. Going to malls, resorts & other summer activities were strictly prohibited.


Seemingly these are the odd effects from the regular & ordinary events we enjoyed on the early part of this year, 2020. Apparently, most if not all have been extremely affected & restrained from our usual way of dealing things. And superficially, most if not all have been restless, agitated and become impatient in this difficult period.


Do you think we can still be sober: calm and collected, have a good sense, with good judgement, wise & level-headed in this trying time?


The Scripture lessons for today, Wednesday, the third day of the Holy week, answer our question that indeed with the Lord’s favour, we can still be temperate, pleasant and mild-mannered despite what we are facing and struggling nowadays.


Reading through the Psalmody today which is taken from Psalm 18 vv. 21 to 30 tells us of how King David’s righteousness was rewarded. David’s assertion of his righteousness is not a pretentious boast of sinless perfection, rather, it is a claim that, in contrast to his enemies, he has devoted himself heart and life to the service of the Lord –itself the fruit of God’s gracious working in his heart.


Just like King David, we also experience the Lord’s favour by giving our heart and life to the service of the Lord. “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall….He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.”  Thus, in this phase of weariness, we hold on to the Lord’s kindness and compassion by clinging on His promise,


“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13 : 5)


Reading through the Old testament lesson today on Isaiah 50 verses 4 to 9, it tells us of the third of the four servant songs. In the royal terminology of the ancient Near East ‘servant’ meant something like ‘trusted envoy’ or confidential representative.’


Looking at it on its context, the prophet Isaiah was given instruction by the Sovereign Lord as His trusted envoy or confidential representative, and Isaiah was responsive to God nor he has been rebellious unlike Israel.


Ultimately the servant will be honoured, and he will endure with great determination. “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”


My Christian friends and brethren, like the prophet Isaiah, we, too, who serve the Sovereign Lord, called to be His trusted envoy by preaching and sharing the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus. We will be grateful and we will endure with great determination because our God helps us and we will not be disgraced nor we will be put to shame.  


“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper;  I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”  (Hebrews 13 : 6)


And lastly, reading through the Epistle lesson today on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 5 verses 6 to 11, it shows how the Lord God demonstrated His own love for us:

“while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


Christ died “when we were still powerless”  – “for the ungodly.”

Christ’s love is grounded in His Father’s free grace and is not the result of any inherent worthiness of any single human being born into this world. 

Since we were reconciled when we were God’s enemies, we will be saved because Christ lives on the third day to keep us alive.

Christ lives to give us the strength to be sober in this trying times.

Christ lives in us to be faithful and firm until He comes again.


Today, we seem to be powerless, immobilized, and helpless.  There is nothing we can do amidst the covid-19 virus.


Yet, St. Paul wrote on v.6, “YOU SEE, AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME WHEN WE WERE STILL POWERLESS, CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY.”  The appointed moment in God’s redemptive plan.


Yes in God’s ‘right’ time, we entrust to Him this covid-19 pandemic.


Yes for the moment, each of us may sing, “I Leave All Things to God’s Direction, for He loves me in wealth or woe;  His will is good, and His affection, His tender love is true, I know. My strength, my fortress rock is He: what pleases God, that pleases me.” (Lutheran Worship Hymn 429 stanza 1)


In Christ Jesus, we are sober: calm and collected, have a good sense, with good judgement, wise and level-headed in times like this.


In His name. Amen.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.