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Michael Brown: When the World Stops

Michael L. Brown, When the World Stops: Words of Hope, Faith, and Wisdom in the Midst of Crisis (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2020), 195 pages, ISBN 9781629998992.

On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Overnight the world stopped and changed, perhaps forever. Wearing a mask became a part of our daily wardrobe. People were wondering if and when things would get back to normal. Fear gripped people throughout the world. Suicide rates, fortunately, have not increased, however, certain groups of people were more vulnerable during the pandemic. There have been travel bans and some countries are still in a nation-wide or partial lock down and people are dying daily.

Since the beginning of the pandemic Christians on social media have bombarded us with gluts of videos, news clips, and stories that these are the last days before the return of Christ.

No matter what comes our way we must trust in the Lord and not give in to fear.

Certainly the past year and a half has been one of crisis. We wondered how long the quarantine was going to last, how long we would have to wear our masks, when a vaccine would become available, and if life would ever return to normal.

Dr. Michael L. Brown (PhD, New York University) addresses all these scenarios in this small, but relevant book by offering a sound biblically-based and a level-headed approach to these unprecedented times.

The subtitle of the book is appropriately titled: “Words of Hope, Faith, and Wisdom in the Midst of Crisis.”

He admits that He doesn’t know the origin of the virus (as well as many medical experts), but dismisses the opinions of many who say that we are at the end of the age. In fact, one chapter titled, “This is Not the End of the World,” deals with this subject, which should give peace to his readers.

More than a year has passed since COVID-19 hit the world with such intensity. Vaccines have been developed and there is now talk of the need of a booster shot. The number of cases has dropped considerably. Unfortunately, a Delta variant of COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, but as Brown writes:

what is clear to me is that we should not view the coronavirus as a prophesied end-time plague. Instead, we should view it in the same way we have viewed many other epidemics and pandemics in world history. They are tragic reminders of the broken state of our world and of the frailty of our race.

Do we give in to fear or place our faith in the true and living God?

This book, however, is less about the pandemic and more about trusting the Lord during troubling times and not giving in to fear. Brown does this in a powerful and convincing way, which will give peace and comfort to his readers. He also provides a solid in-depth teaching on Psalm 91.

He begins the chapter Psalm 91: “Living In the Hiding Place of the Most High,” by writing the following:

you may be reading this book one year later, or five years later, when the challenges we face are very different. And yet all of us, in all times and all places, need to take hold of the holy reality of Psalm 91 since we live in a dangerous world filled with demons, diseases, and death.

A question that he poses to the church: Do we give in to fear or place our faith in the true and living God?

For a book that was written in a week, Brown covers much ground on both spiritual and secular matters. It is well-balanced and reminds us that no matter what comes our way we must trust in the Lord and not give in to fear. There are uncertainties, as Brown points out, but the Lord is in control.

If you are in need of comfort in these troubling and uncertain times it would be beneficial to read this book written by a respected Bible teacher and commentator.

Reviewed by Larry Russi

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2021

About the Author: Larry Russi, M.A. in Urban Ministry (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), is the Senior Pastor at Glendale Christian Lighthouse Church in Everett, Massachusetts. In ministry for over 40 years, he is the coordinator for the New England region of the American Evangelical Christian Churches (AECC) and also a member of the denomination's advisory board. Facebook

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