Confession? When this whole COVID-19 business started, I was kind of into it. I know that sounds ridiculous—maybe even callous—but it didn’t seem real to me. It was distant, other. I didn’t know anyone affected and wasn’t sure whether or not to believe the media about the severity and reach of the disease. I had my people around me and loads of unforeseen time to spend with them. What more could I ask for?
Maybe because our quarantine started at the end of spring break, it felt kind of like one long snow day at first. We slept late, watched movies, played games, binged series, and worked puzzles. It was perfect.
Then it wasn’t.
I started watching the news and reading articles. Although I was fascinated and inspired by some of the human interest stories I read of sacrifice and heroism, I was soon overwhelmed by the size and strength of the dark cloud that was crawling over our planet with increasing speed.
All too soon, it was over me and mine and began to spin in tornadic fashion, not touching us directly, but sucking, lifting, dropping, and pressing until almost everything I thought I had put in order was slightly to severely displaced or damaged.
No matter how many games we played, movies we watched, series we binged, puzzles we worked, or sleep we got, my mind refused to still. Although reading my Bible and praying certainly helped, my heart never calmed completely.
The Holy Spirit held me together from the inside, of course—God is not, has never been, and never will be shaken—but the rest of me flapped and floated in the screeching squall, the dance more frenetic for the fight I waged against what I could not possibly control.
Finally, sandblasted by circumstance and too tired to resist, I let go and let the anchor that is my God-given faith do its job. Once I did, God began to use the storm and its havoc to remind me of and teach me things. Here are just a few:
- Fear is an energy waster.
- Wishing and worrying don’t change anything.
- Coping skills don’t cure.
- Willpower isn’t sufficient fuel.
- No one is perfect.
- Pretending that problems don’t exist doesn’t make them go away.
- It is truly impossible to please everyone.
- Investment doesn’t guarantee the desired yield.
- If love needs a reason greater than the One we already have, it will never happen.
- People will surprise you.
- Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
- Busyness doesn’t equal productivity.
- Having to say something and having something to say are two very different things.
- People can’t fill you up.
- A word spoken is almost impossible to take back.
- Wounded people hurt people.
- The things you don’t say and do impact people as much as the things you do say and do.
- Expecting miracles from a human being is like expecting tidal waves from a kiddie pool.
Hard lessons all, but necessary. After all, you can’t live effectively for God’s Kingdom until you’re appropriately disillusioned with all others.
The storm’s not over yet, of course. The wind still slaps and stings and could very well pick up in intensity at any moment, but I’m okay and can honestly say now that I’m grateful for the experience, such as it’s been.
If I didn’t know it before, I know it now: At the end of ourselves, we find God. Creator, Sustainer, and the Author of our salvation, He is also an endless source of strength, hope, joy, peace, and purpose for those who place and keep their faith in Him. Ever-present, all-powerful, unchanging, and faithful, God loves us even though we don’t deserve it and then gives us the desire and ability to turn around and love others the same way.
What more could we possibly ask for?