The main thing with the pandemic has been, and still is, the uncertainty. We don’t know anything. For more than a year now we have collectively felt like we’re on the brink of… what? We don’t know! Something significant, we think. We feel like it’s big and it’s going to leave a mark. But there’s still so much – even today – uncertainty.
Should I get the shot? How long will my immunity last? What is my city going to look like on the other side of this? What kind of church are we going to have? What about the variants? What about the economy? How much longer do we need to wear masks? Are we going to go through this every winter? Was the whole thing blown out of proportion? Or should we have done even more? We don’t know! And the stress of the uncertainty is unsettling.
“This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:9
Many times I’ve asked people who are going through a major life thing, “What is God doing with this right now?” You’re putting your mom in a nursing home, you’re pregnant with twins, you’ve been diagnosed with cancer – your life as you know it is changing. What do you think God is doing?
This is what I hear: “I haven’t thought about it.”
You haven’t thought about it? Well, for pity’s sake, you need to start thinking about it!
God has not abandoned you. He’s not on vacation somewhere and can’t see you right now. The Lord is near. He’s in this with you. Pay attention to what he’s doing. Don’t go through a major thing in your life and not be transformed by him. Be aware. Be on the lookout.
When something really great happens to you, think about how God is shaping you in that. You know that every good and perfect gift comes from him. You know the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it belongs to him. So you’re just the manager of this gift from God. How is he wanting you to manage it? Pay attention.
When something really awful happens to you, think about how God is forming you in that. You that God is working in all things for your good. You know his strength is made perfect in your weakness. So this is an opportunity for growth and witness. How is God wanting you to mature? How is he wanting you to testify? Pay attention.
During a crisis or a major transition, we can get locked in on the wrong things. We can ask the wrong questions. That’s what Jesus is addressing in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. What will I eat and drink? What will I wear? What if I get sick? How do we make up the money we’ve lost? What are we never going to get back? All of that is legitimate. Those are fair questions and real things we’re all dealing with. But Jesus brings our attention to a godly focus when he says:
“Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~Matthew 6:33
No matter your present circumstances, you’ve got to be awake to God’s Kingdom and God’s will and his work in those circumstances because if you’re not, you’re going to be eaten up with anxiety. If you’re not viewing your present situation in light of God’s love for you and his power and will to work all things together for your good and the good of his everlasting Kingdom, you’re going to be paralyzed with worry and fear.
If we care about what kind of people we’re going to be on the other side of this pandemic, we have to care deeply about the kind of people we’re becoming every single day DURING the pandemic. We’re not going to be faithful Kingdom-seekers on this side of it if we’re not paying attention to what God is doing in our lives right now.
The question is not “What?” What if this happens? What if that happens?
The question is not “How?” How am I going to do this? How is this going to work out?
The question is “Who?” Who’s making it happen? Who’s working it out?
Your Father. The Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth who loves you and who is right there with you in the middle of your situation.
When life happens – when a pandemic changes everything – you can wring your hands and say, “I don’t know!” Or you can lift your hands and say, “God knows! I’m not going to rely on myself in this, I’m relying on God!”