“What would I do at this time without hope?” I’ve asked myself that question many times over the last few weeks of being at home in isolation. The coronavirus is front and center everywhere. Jobs are being lost, people are getting sick, some losing their lives, the economy is falling quicker than a lead balloon and we can’t escape any of it when turning on the tv.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – week one of isolation (5 weeks ago for me starting to work from home daily) was a bit tough for me. Everyone was nervous and we didn’t know much about this virus (not that we know everything now), and I felt deflated, and maybe a bit doomed. I can find humor in the following statement now, but during that first week I felt like what I’ve told a few friends “a lab rat in isolation, waiting to see how long it takes for it to go crazy without social interaction”. Well, that wasn’t the best thought for my brain, but I know who planted it there (Satan!). I’ve not been a huge news watcher for years, but when quarantine hit I was also ingesting more news than was good for me. I was letting the enemy get the best of my thoughts in week one. The people that I saw regularly – I knew there was a pause happening. Possibly a long one. It felt depressing, fearful (of the unknown), and desolate.
Then came week two. A sister in Christ spoke some powerful words to me that I will never forget, and those words reminded me Who was in control, Who would turn this around for good, and reminded me Who I am in Christ. Another friend always reminds me that we are sons and daughters of the King. He loves us and cares for us so much more than we could ever fathom. It got me fired up. These reminders from friends made me decide to turn off the news, because the news wasn’t good for my brain. Do this, or do that, or it’s this or it’s that. Which is right?! So many contradictions in the news; how is our brain supposed to handle that? It’s not. So, to keep up on news, I began only pulling what I need online from my most trusted news source for a very short time each day. My fear began subsiding, my hope began increasing, my faith was yet again very present (and has been ever since).
We have learned in these last week’s how to be resilient as people, and as Children of God. We have learned even more than we already knew, that relying on God during a time of crisis is the only way to get through it. We’re showing the love of God through our encouraging words and actions with each other. My brothers and sisters in Christ have reached out to me so many times, it’s unreal. Checking in. Even bringing me things that I didn’t ask for, but knew I would enjoy – right to my door, without me even knowing. (What a fun surprise to open the door and find Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs sitting outside!). Our church may not be able to meet in person, but we’re streaming services, and having Zoom Bible Studies (which I’m so glad to be part of two throughout the week). Friends that I normally work out with a couple of times per week, instead of meeting in their church gym, we’re now working out on FaceBook live together. And I’m thankful for video chat, so I can interact with my parents. It’s not the same as dropping by their house; but in times like this, it’s so valued. There’s so much to be said about seeing faces, and I’m so glad for technology so we don’t have to miss seeing the faces of those we care about. We’ve learned how to connect in alternate ways. Our whole church body even shared in communion, live on Zoom with each other on Good Friday. After all, a church isn’t a building – it’s the people; it’s us. We are seeing that lived out in this very moment.
So, let’s get back to “hope”. What does hope look like to you during this time? I recently read something in my daily Bible app (YouVersion) devotional that brought everything into perspective:
“What does your reaction to the coronavirus pandemic tell you about your faith in Jesus?” Ponder that question for a moment before continuing.
Psalm 139:19 NLT (A Psalm of David) – “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day has passed”.
The Message version lays out the last part of that verse as: “The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day”.
My devotional continued, after reading Psalm 139:19:
“What are the implications of God having written all the days that were formed for you, before any of them as yet existed?”
Reflecting on that passage, what do those words mean to you in the current day, in your current life? Those are powerful truths! That is hope in Christ. That is peace. That is KNOWING beyond doubt that God has your life planned out already. We don’t have to worry about things, because He’s already there, He already knows. He knows your fears and your doubts, your anxiety and your hurt. He knows we’re human and we have these feelings of uncertainty, but He’s already on it. He’s already covering that for us. He’s ahead of us. He’s there – He’s in tomorrow, next week, next year (which I think most of us wish we could be right now!). But knowing that He’s already there, doesn’t that bring hope and peace to your heart? God knows our last day, so why do we worry? As Pastor Frank has clearly put it, “God doesn’t need this virus to take us out. If we’re going out, if it’s our last day, we’re going”. So, I thought about this. Any other time in our lives we haven’t focused so much on our last day, but during this time, fear has gripped so many. Why? Yes, this pandemic is not fun, yes, it’s taking lives, but unless God has already stated before I was born that my life would be taken by COVID-19, it won’t be. (Does that give me a license to be irresponsible during this time? No – God gave me a brain to use as well, but that’s a different blog).
I hope we always realize how important our brothers and sisters in Christ are to us, as in times of struggle, anxiety and fear, they can help lift us up and remind us of the hope we have in Christ. Lean on them. Call them. Let’s be the church and let’s still be in each other’s lives. If you’re not in a Bible Study with your Oakwood Church family, now is the perfect time. Pastor Frank has a great study on Wednesday nights (via Zoom) at 7pm. Contact him at frank@oakwoodchurch.org to get involved.
I’d also love to hear your thoughts in the comments below of how God has maybe changed your perspective in the last weeks. Perspective of Him? Perspective of your faith? Perspective of your hope?
Stay safe, stay rooted in Christ, and know beyond doubt His plans for us never fail.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT – “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven”.
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About Dena:
“First and foremost, I’m a Daughter of the King and a long-time Christ follower. I’m also a dog mom who enjoys reading Christian books, cardio drumming, traveling often, and I’m a bit of a techie geek. My life has seen its fair share of curve-balls and I’ve found that I’ve become closer to Christ in each trial as He’s comforted me and shown me that I can solely put my faith and trust in Him. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT says “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” I feel thankful and blessed for the messes in my life – as they have brought me closer to Him.”
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