Lately, I’ve stopped keeping track of days. They all start to blend as being forced indoors feels more like incarceration. I’m too bored to do anything productive, yet I don’t want to spend the rest of the day doing nothing. It’s still dangerous to meet people in person and I’m tempted to delete the Zoom app off my phone. This may seem like an understatement, but my patience with COVID-19 is wearing thin.
Lives are lost, people are pushed to their limits, and coping mechanisms (healthy or not) can only do so much to combat the dark reality we are currently facing. It seems that all we do recently is wait for life to return to some semblance of normalcy. While it can feel like there’s no end in sight, I’m reminded that God meets us in the turmoil. To persevere through these troubling times, we need to hear from God to renew our faith. (Romans 10:17) As I’m navigating through these hard times and seeking wisdom about the current situation, I gathered a few lessons that have comforted me in the chaos.
1. Anything else but God is shifting sand
Jesus provides an example in the Book of Luke about the value of building a house on a solid foundation so that it stays standing in any storm. (Luke 6:48) Difficult times are bound to happen and we must prepare for whatever comes our way. Adjusting to this new normal should make us stop and reflect on any instability in our infrastructure.
Having our foundations set on Christ is the only path to true contentment and peace. (Hebrews 11:2) The idols we run to and the vices that we cling to will not protect us when the storm arrives. If anything, it will leave us more exposed and vulnerable as we search for something to make us feel safe. To some extent, we’re all dealing with uncertainties about COVID-19 in different ways. Yet throughout history and even today, the solution to every worldwide disruption and distraction has always been the same.
In the middle of the madness, Jesus Christ is still messiah. He longs for our deepest joy and is not content with us settling for counterfeit pleasure. He is the great high priest who sympathizes with our weakness. (Hebrews 4:15) He is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1) And he encourages us to take heart because he overcame the world. (John 16:33)
2. Adjusting to God’s timing and sovereignty
None of us could have expected or planned for what we’re currently dealing with now. It’s more than enough to bring out the pessimist in all of us. With the entire world on hold, we all have questions and uncertainties that we want answers to. The need for restoration and resolution is not foreign to God. Even when it seems like God is not acting fast enough, He is desiring us to draw closer to Him. Therefore, I need to relinquish my limited control of the world I inhabit.
Despite medical innovations and modern advancements in living, the one disease we can never cure is death. We live in a broken world that often tries to harm us. Yet in a culture marked by hedonism and self-preservation, we’re encouraged to do everything in our power to make life more comfortable and pleasurable. Though God loves to take care of us, He is not above trials and tribulations for our good and for His glory.
God in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, allowed COVID-19 to shut down the world. I’m still wrestling with the purpose behind the pandemic, yet I’m strangely finding peace in it. (Philippians 4:7) Rather than hold on to resentment, I’m learning to adapt to the timing of the One who created life and knows it better than you or me. Every tragedy and troubling moment is accounted for. All the apathy, anxieties, and pressures are not without design. There’s a redemptive purpose behind each of them. (Romans 8:28)
Becoming familiar with the character of God bridges our disillusionments with His devotion to make us whole and Christlike. Understanding how Christ desires to restore a broken creation will lead us to new mercies every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit will give us the strength to overcome our struggles and weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) As His creation, we have to align to the will of our Creator, even if it confuses us at times. (Isaiah 55:9)
3. I was made for this
Like a soldier being prepped for war, I’m more aware of the many battles that are happening now. (Ephesians 6:12) God has presented unique opportunities to showcase the gospel to those struggling right now. The gospel message is centered on God willingly entering the mess we created to save us from it. Christ didn’t die for our sins and conquer the grave to solely remove us from troubling times, but to guide us through them.
The mission to save souls doesn’t stop inside the four walls we are quarantined in. As a part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” (1 Peter 2:9) I have to make use of the time and technology that God has provided me to honor Him. When I’m tempted to isolate myself more, I instead fight to engage more with my community. Instead of going to different apps to entertain me, I have to be more conscious of what’s consuming my time and cherish the occasions to rest more.
As former routines become relics in our current coronavirus era, regrets and frustrations can pile up in our minds. With all the mess that the world is in now, it’s imperative that we don’t lose hold of the gospel. The very gospel that gave me a new life at 14 and is still alive today. The same gospel that doesn’t disregard suffering, sin, and death, but dismantles their power over me. The only gospel that encourages me to not fret over what I lost but to focus on what I will gain because the reward that will prevail over this momentary affliction is already secured. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
I can wait a little longer because my eternity is already set through the blood of Christ. Thankfully, I serve a God that is not caught off-guard by the coronavirus. He recognizes our pain and will not leave us drifting in the darkness. Even in the darkness, He is waiting for us to draw close and listen. Though it will be difficult and we may have to endure a bit longer, we can experience redemption, restoration, and growth by wholeheartedly seeking God in this tough season.