Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Someday people will write novels set during the Great Covid-19 Pandemic (though it might be called something different by then). There will be quiet diaries of quarantined people sliding into insanity and action-packed epics jumping from overcrowded ERs to the halls of power. Maybe there will even be some gallows humor from the grocery store clerk asking, “What do you do when you have no good choices?”
Right now, there are no obvious right choices, only trade-offs. Here in America, I’ve heard us described as “the sick, the scared, and the bored.” Some are sick or know people who are, and they’re just praying for life. Some have been laid off or furloughed, and the risk of going back to work feels lower as their bank accounts dwindle and unemployment doesn’t make up the difference. Some are safely working from home and trying to give our kids—who are also bored with cabin fever—some semblance of an education. (Fun fact! It’s officially been two months since schools were closed in Washington.) We are all grieving canceled meetings, trips, or vacations and watching as long-awaited events like graduations or weddings are delayed or celebrated much differently from how we’d hoped.
And whether you are scared or sick or bored, every day feels too much the same. Jokes abound on social media about the meaning(lessness) of time and the toll these days are taking on our bodies and minds, but the suffering is real. We are desperate for something to change.
An article by Louie Giglio brought my attention to this prayer from King Jehoshaphat: “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12b NIV). (I recommend the whole article!)
What does God have to offer us? “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1 NIV). Isaiah 40 is a beautiful résumé of how much greater God is than our troubles, concluding with the famous promise that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (verse 31).
In my small group, we have been reading some Psalms along with the Kingdoms passages. Again and again, the Psalms show David redirecting his anguish to the power and faithfulness and lovingkindess of God. We asked ourselves how David was able to have such confidence in the trustworthiness of the Lord, and decided the answer was found both in his life experience and in verses like, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97 NIV).
God wants us to rest in his presence, review what he’s done for us, and concentrate on his character. To be honest, however, I don’t want to surrender—I want him to fix it. But he wants to fix our gaze. He wants us to trust him. With God, the sitting still to hear him, the leaning on his promises, the discipline we learn from hard times, and the blessing of seeing his salvation are all the same. We endure, and he comes alongside us, and we build up our muscles of trusting until we know in our soul that he will never leave us. We do not know what to do, so we turn to him.