This post is a guest contribution from Cheryl Thomas, in light of recent events. May you be encouraged!
As I have gone through the past few days, my mind has been awhir with the inundation of facts surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, the flurry of constantly changing recommendations, and preparations for the days that lie ahead. As I have continually sought the Lord, even my prayers have felt unsettled because of our changing world. Very little in our lives is “normal” right now, and I keep returning to the word “surreal.”
I work part time in a Classical, Christian high school. Yesterday, our school adjusted rapidly — and well, I might add, thanks to administrators and a school board who had been seeking the Lord’s wisdom in how to act and react in this situation and teachers who responded with servants’ hearts in preparing students for remote learning — as we conducted possibly the last day of school this year. Perhaps the saddest part of the day was the attempt to cram as many senior traditions into the day as possible. Parents worked hard to prepare things to have a Senior Lunch to allow the students to have a special time together. Seniors then walked through the halls of our grammar school and upper school to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” a tradition as they leave the building on their last day of school. While our hopes are certainly that this was a practice run for their actual last day of school, we were filled with sadness as we considered that this might really be it. Surreal.
We have been hearing for several weeks that Wall Street doesn’t like uncertainty. The truth is that none of us likes uncertainty. And so, in the jumble of thoughts that fill my mind, I have found that the way to help me combat the feeling of surrealness is to focus on the REAL. I like facts, so it is tempting to visit epidemiology websites and listen to briefings several times a day. None of those things, however, calms my soul or gives me hope. Only by meditating on Who God is as revealed in His Word — the REAL — have I had a settling of my spirit. Whether the turmoil we experience is from a pandemic or other circumstances that the Lord brings into our lives, our only true hope comes through trusting Him.
For my own sanity and sanctification, I need to check that epidemiology website a little less often, feast on God’s Word, and sing good hymns. My thoughts are not as cohesive as I would like, but these are truths (by no means comprehensive) which ground my soul, give me peace, and generate praise to my great God and King Who brings all things to pass. I pray that you would be encouraged in the Lord as you meditate on them.
- God sovereignly orchestrates ALL things.
“Remember the former things of long past, / For I am God, and there is no other. / I am God, and there is no one like Me, / Declaring the end from the beginning, / And from ancient times things which have not been done, / Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, / And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
- God knows our weakness and our inability to sort things out, even to pray.
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
- If we belong to Christ (having been purchased by His blood), everything that God brings into our lives is to make us more like the Lord Jesus. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29).
- In the midst of change, we can rest in our unchanging God. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
- God graciously reminds us of our own mortality. How easy it is to get caught up in things and activities of the day and act as if we will live forever! “Lord, make me to know my end / And what is the extent of my days; / Let me know how transient I am” (Psalm 39:4).
- With the reminders of our mortality and the reality that we will stand before the Living and True God, we should be spurred on in our sanctification. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:2-3).
- God is our Help and Shield, a truth that is a theme of the Psalms. “God is our refuge and strength, / A very present help in trouble. / Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change / And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; / Though its waters roar and foam, / Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride” (Psalm 46:1-3).
“O Israel, trust in the Lord; / He is their help and their shield. / O house of Aaron, Trust in the Lord; / He is their help and their shield. / You who fear the Lord, / Trust in the Lord; / He is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:9-11).
We have the opportunity to share the true hope that can only be found in Christ Jesus. In this time when much of the world is reeling, what better way to fulfill the second greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” than by inviting those yet outside the Kingdom of Christ to know our Savior?