It seems like every time we turn around these days, the media are telling us about some new disease we all need to be afraid of. For a while there, it was Ebola. Because of the prayers of God’s people, that disease is disappearing now, but when it first hit, it was headline news morning, noon and night.
When the Ebola epidemic died down, they started in on the flu. They showed pictures of people sitting in emergency rooms and interviewed doctors who talked about how deadly the latest flu strain is going to be. One day, all I did was open the weather app on my cellphone and up popped a headline that shouted at me
in great big letters: the flu season is open!
“It may be,” I said, “but I’m not going to partake of it. I’m going to keep right on abiding in the secret place of the Most High and let the flu pass me by. I’m going to keep on living in divine health!”
“Brother Copeland,” someone might say, “how can you be so certain?”
Because I know what The WORD of God says. It says repeatedly in Psalm 91 that the person who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will be delivered from “pestilence” (verses 3 and 6).
What exactly is pestilence? It refers to virulent diseases, plagues or epidemics that are highly infectious and potentially deadly. Ebola, for example, qualifies as a pestilence. So does the flu and every other disease the devil can come up with.
All those things are pestilences and, according to God’s WORD, when we as believers are abiding in His secret place, under His shadow, God will deliver us from every one of them.
One person who demonstrated this in a most remarkable way was John G. Lake. He was a missionary in Africa back in 1910, when a plague swept across the continent. It was so deadly that in a single month one fourth of the population in the affected area died.
Because the disease was highly contagious, the government couldn’t find anyone who was willing to go into the area to nurse the sick and bury the dead. They offered $1,000 (which was a lot of money in those days) to anyone who would do it. But they couldn’t find any takers.
John Lake and his ministry associates, however, volunteered to do it at no cost. They went into the houses where people were sick, prayed for them, tended to their needs and buried the people who had already died—and they did it all without one symptom of the plague ever touching them.
Of course, the government officials and doctors were dumbfounded by this. They couldn’t understand it. So they approached Brother Lake and asked him about it. “It is the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ,” he said. “I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God, so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”
Brother Lake even invited the doctors to do experiments on him. He let them put the foam from the lungs of a dead plague victim on his hand and examine it under a microscope. When they did, they saw that the masses of living germs in the foam died the moment they touched Brother Lake.
It was an amazing thing—and most people think it happened to John G. Lake because he was special. But actually the reverse is true. He was special because that kind of thing happened to him; and the reason it happened to him was because he had the Anointing of God.
That’s good news because you and I as believers have that same Anointing; which means we can experience the same kind of deliverance from pestilence that John Lake did, as long as we dwell in the secret place of the Most High.
Look Who’s Talking
“But Brother Copeland,” you might say, “I’m not really sure how to get into that secret place.”
You do it with words of faith. You put your trust in God and make the same declaration as the person in Psalm 91:2: “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
Then you stick with that confession. You don’t say a bunch of unbelieving junk that contradicts it. You don’t say stupid stuff like, “Well, everyone at work has the flu, so I suppose I’ll be next. There’s just no way around it.”
No, you say what Psalm 91:2 says and nothing else.
What happens when you do that?
Someone else starts talking.
Read Psalm 91 all the way through and you’ll see what I mean. It’s written in a way that clearly indicates more than one person is speaking. In verse 2, for instance, the believer speaks and says, “The Lord is my refuge, in Him will I trust.” But in verse 3 (and throughout the rest of the psalm), someone else takes over and responds to the believer’s confession of faith by saying, “Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”
I’ll never forget the first time I noticed that. I thought, Who is talking in those verses? It can’t be God because they refer to God as “He.” So there’s someone else speaking in this psalm.
I asked The LORD about it and He said, It’s Jesus.
Isn’t that amazing? When you and I declare our trust in God, Jesus starts speaking and giving us insight into what that trust brings to pass for us. He steps into His role as our High Priest and declares what God is going to do for us.
In verse 4, for example, He tells us that God “shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.” We’ve all heard the expression, “he took me under his wing.” There’s a whole lot to that: It not only means to cover someone and protect them from outside harm; it refers to providing them with expertise and resources.
When God says He’s taking you under His wing, He’s talking covenant language. He’s saying, “When you come into My house, you’re covered. I take care of everything.”
That in itself is so thrilling we could be tempted just to set up camp around verse 4 and celebrate. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. In verses 5 and 6, He goes on to say, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”
When Jesus says thou shalt not be afraid, He’s not just trying to comfort us. He’s not patting us on the head and saying, “Now, don’t worry about this, little darling. You won’t be scared.” No, He’s giving an emphatic command. He’s saying to us, “You shall not be afraid!”
Keeping the Switch of Faith Turned On
Why is Jesus so adamantly opposed to us being afraid?
Because all the benefits listed in Psalm 91 are faith-dependent; and for us to stand in faith, we must stand against fear.
The New Testament story about Jairus confirms this. Do you remember what happened to him?
A ruler of the synagogue, he went to Jesus with a desperate situation: His little daughter was so sick, she was about to die. Certain that Jesus could help her, he went to the place where He was preaching, “fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live” (Mark 5:22-23).
At the time, Jesus was surrounded by a huge crowd of people but, moved by Jairus’ faith, He responded to his plea and started walking with him toward his house.
Before they got there, however, something happened that stopped Jesus in His tracks. A woman with an issue of blood pressed in behind Him and touched His clothes, believing that if she could just touch them she would be healed.
Jesus, sensing the healing power of God had flowed out of Him, turned around to find out who had touched Him. When she identified herself, He ministered to her. He stood there and listened while she told Him how many years she’d been sick and how many doctors she’d seen and how much it had cost her. He listened while she told Him how she had suffered many things of many doctors and she’d gotten no better, but rather grew worse.
As she talked on and on, Jairus did not yield to the pressure and urgency of his own situation. He didn’t say a word. He just stayed quiet because he’d already said what he needed to say: “Lord, You come and lay Your hands on my daughter and she will be healed and she will live.”
That was his faith confession and he wasn’t saying anything else. Period! His faith was sustaining him.
As he was standing there waiting, however, he got some news that threatened to be a game-changer. Someone shoved through the crowd and said to him, “Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?” (verse 35).
Those words must have hit Jairus like a brick. Suddenly he’s facing the most serious situation any parent can imagine. His daughter isn’t just sick anymore—she’s dead.
What did he say when he found out about it?
Jesus didn’t give him a chance. As soon as He heard what Jairus had been told He said, “Be not afraid, only believe” (verse 36).
Why did He say that?
Because He intended to work a miracle and raise that little girl from the dead; and for Jairus to receive that miracle he had to maintain his faith connection with Jesus. He had to keep the switch of faith turned on. Fear is the enemy of faith!
Let Jesus Do the Talking
Much the same thing is true for us: God intends to work miracles for us. He’s provided deliverance for us not only from every kind of pestilence but from every other danger the devil can devise, and we receive what He’s provided by keeping the switch of faith turned on.
We connect with God’s protective power by making our confession of faith according to Psalm 91:2. We say of The LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust,” and that’s all we say about it. Period!
After that, we follow Jairus’ example and let Jesus do our talking for us. No matter what kind of bad report we receive, no matter what’s being broadcast on the news, or at the coffee shop, we just say what The LORD says about it. We just keep believing and fear not.
“But Brother Copeland, Jesus was physically standing right next to Jairus. Didn’t that give him an edge on us?”
Certainly not. We’re the ones who have the edge.
We not only have the Spirit of Jesus with us and among us, we have Him living on the inside of us. We have the written WORD of the living God to meditate on and believe, and the Anointing of the Holy Spirit to empower us.
We’re born-again believers living on the victory side of the Cross! We’re the people to whom Isaiah 54 says: “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake” (verses 14-15).
If you read those verses closely, you’ll notice they tell us that oppression is tied to fear. They say, “You will be far from oppression for you won’t fear.”
Can you see why it’s so vital for us to fear not and believe only? Fear is twisted faith. It activates the devil the way faith activates God. Fear opens you up, both spiritually and physically, to receive the harm the devil is trying to inflict on you.
This is not only scriptural, it’s proven scientific fact: The human brain is not wired for fear and unbelief. It’s wired for love and faith. Fear-filled, unbelieving thoughts are literally toxic to your body. They damage your brain and wreak havoc with your immune system.
That’s why you, as a believer, don’t have any business being afraid of anything. Jesus has delivered you from fear. He’s given you His WORD, “Terror shall not come near you, and whatever comes against you shall fall for your sake.”
Talk about the war on terror: For you and me and every other believer, that war has been won!
Think about that the next time some kind of pestilent epidemic raises its ugly head and you start hearing about the Ebola scare, or the flu scare or any other kind of scare. Refuse to partake of those scares. Instead, put your trust in God, make your faith declaration and then let Jesus do the talking.
He said, “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (Psalm 91:9-10). So fear not; only believe, and say, “Amen!”