hard to believe it has been barely more than a week ago that I started this “Corona – true confessions” series of posts. Seems more like another lifetime ago to me and I’m guessing that is true for many of you as well. More changes were announced last night and today in my state. I thought everything was already as shut down as possible, but I must have been wrong. Further travel restrictions and additional work shut downs were announced.
My new friends, the newscasters, are telling me this is the “new normal.” Well, it may be new but there is nothing “normal” about this new way of life that we are experiencing right now. We are social creatures by design. God created us for relationship with Him and for relationship with each other. That’s probably why, when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered with these words,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. . . . And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matthew 22:37-39)
We do not thrive in isolation but in community with others. Isolation breeds fear and fear breeds panic. We are seeing the evidence of fear and panic in the empty store shelves, which have been laid bare by panic buying.
And so this journey continues for each of us individually and for us collectively, as we deal with this unexpected virus. This one virus, affecting us all in so many ways, some different and some the same. For once, we all have a common enemy, COVID-19. We are all impacted by COVID-19, whether we actually contract this virus or not.
Never have I been more aware of how interconnected we all are, nationally and globally. Our battle is the same battle that other countries are fighting right now as well, racing against time to find causes of and cures for and ways to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This virus appears to be as hazardous to the uninfected as it is to the infected. Many are losing their jobs, incomes, homes, businesses, health, loved ones . . . we all have lost what we perceived as control over our daily lives, we have lost the ability to plan our course of action and then carry it out; trips/vacations planned long ago are now cancelled, weddings postponed, conventions, business meetings, graduations, olympics, reunions – all cancelled or put on hold.
I wonder if even more than the “big” events and plans that we had made, which are now being cancelled, it is something less obvious that we have lost and are now struggling to replace.
I think it is the day to day fabric of our everyday life routines that has been ripped open and torn away from us, leaving us feeling exposed and unprotected in this new environment we do not recognize. We long for the familiar comfort our daily routines provided us, whether it was our weekly worship at church or our daily workout at the gym or the predictability of our workday. With our work, worship, sports, travel and entertainments pulled out from under us, on what do we stand? We find ourselves asking, who are we?
I am reminded that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Isaiah 16:9)
Our plans may have been taken from us, (all the plans I had are certainly gone or on indefinite hold) but what we don’t have to lose is hope. No act of legislation has the power to take hope away from us. Hope is a product of faith. And it is faith that sustains when circumstances can’t and don’t sustain us. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)
We have God’s promise from his word that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We have this assurance from Psalm 23:4-5, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
tomorrow I will continue true confessions as I revisit “Life in the Furnace”. We are all in this same furnace together at the moment, which is ironic because even in the furnace, right when we need each other more than ever, we are supposed to be practicing our “social distancing.”
is the cure worse than the illness? time will tell –
well, here comes my mailperson, got to go! (I will keep my distance, promise!)
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” (Psalm 33:20-22)
sincerely, Grace Day