Okay, so here we are.
I want to roll my own eyes at myself for taking an entire blog post to address COVID-19, but the thing is… I have to. We have to.
I’ll be honest. I have been downplaying the whole thing until yesterday. And now I can feel the anxiety settling in. And I know you feel it, too. It feels physical, doesn’t it?
Not in the traditional sense. Not even necessarily that you or your loved one gets sick. If we think that the panic is about getting sick, I honestly think we’re not looking hard enough.
The truth is that our control is being compromised.
The reality of this virus is revealing so much about us, isn’t it? As individuals and as a whole. I believe there’s one thing that we’re not recognizing, though. We are giving into the panic of scarcity.
Those of us who call Jesus our Savior; we’re working hard to believe that He is in control and that He is a healer. We can probably get down with those words. But do we trust that He’s our Provider?
What are we showing the world when we fight over toilet paper and bread? We are giving into the lie that we won’t have enough.
Listen, I’m all about preparing. Have I gone to the grocery store myself yet? Nope. Do I want to cry about the prospect of going? Well, yes, I do.
But let’s get down to the real reason we’re all flipping out. Yes, there is a legitimate sickness going around and we have got to think and wash our hands and prepare. But the truth is that our schedules are most likely now out of our control. Everything in my normal routine is now cancelled for the next two weeks. I will have both kids home all day, ever day. Pray for us, y’all.
But not only that, my church services, events… all of the things that bring my people together are being cancelled. Yes, it’s for good reason, but it affects me big time. And I know it affects you.
We are being challenged in ways we would never choose to be. Some of us thrive in this kind of environment. Some of us shrink.
You have practical choices during this time.
First, trust God. This is not just an emotional response to make you feel better. This is a literal, moment to moment heart position of saying, “God, you are not only the Savior of my soul, but you care for my body and my family in every moment. You will provide what I need when I need it and I do not need to fear. You will show me how to help care for others around me. You are enough.”
Second, educate yourself and then stop yourself. Yes, read. Yes, prepare. No, don’t be ignorant. But for the love, put your phone down. Stop googling. Take space from Facebook. It is adding to your panic and you may not even be aware.
Limit your caffeine if it causes your heart to race. Drink water. Eat a meal. This stuff matters.
Third, let yourself feel, and let it be hard. We are not expected to be unaffected. When everything in our normal routine is changing and it’s all completely out of our control, it’s okay not to love it. It’s okay to feel a little anxious. But dig a little deeper. What are you placing your trust in? Anxiety is coming at you? Okay. Let it happen. Cry. Breathe. And let God put you back together with His kind and careful hands.
Lastly, be grateful.
Yes, I said it. Be aware that your only problem right now is that you can’t find a bulk pack of toilet paper. Be cognizant of the fact that you are able to buy just about anything you need on a daily basis. Right now, as that might be compromised, just be aware.
Take every extra moment with your family as a gift.
Have we become so busy that we are lost when time has been given to us? Yes, we have.
Listen, panic is contagious. You have a choice on whether it stops with you. Feel, process, pray. Being the hands and feet of Jesus doesn’t always mean flying to a third-world country. Help those around you.
God is giving us an opportunity to strengthen our communities. To get out of our routine and to love deeper than ever before. Be kind to those in the grocery store. Pour out love and peace.
The best part of it all? We don’t have to manufacture this peace within yourself. He does that work for us. We don’t have to have answers. We just point to the One who does. We ourselves are not love and peace. But we have the One who is.
He is Sovereign. He is Just. He is merciful. He is steadfast.
And He is here.
“God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available when I need you.
So we will never fear even if every structure of support were to crumble away. We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea.
For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode our faith in you.
God has a constantly flowing river whose sparkling streams bring joy and delight to His people. His river flows right through the city of God Most High, into His holy dwelling places.
God is in the midst of His city, secure and never shaken.
Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.”
[Psalm 46:1-5 ,10]