As we enter the month of May, except for essential workers, we have been at home for just over a month. We venture out for necessary reasons like going to the grocery store and getting our prescriptions at the pharmacy. I think it is safe to say we all have experienced moments of cabin fever this past month. I am focusing my thoughts in this month’s Pastor’s Corner to express something about applying God’s word in this situation.
1. Trust God and His plan for us in this moment of time. Trusting in God, in the moment, means we need to fight against the temptation of anxiety. We need to stop spinning our wheels with questions like, “How long will this virus and its restrictions be in place?” along with a host of other questions like, “When will the economy recover?” or “What form will my daughter’s graduation take?”
For all these questions, we must realize that we don’t know. We must heed our Lord’s words in Matthew 6:33,34:
“33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We can’t know how long this virus will be with us, and even when the strict measures will be relaxed remains to be seen. Because we cannot know when this will happen, we have to wait and see and take it one day at a time. In regard to the future, it is tentative. But that has always been true of whenever we plan for our future. During this uncertain time, this truth comes home to us in an obvious way.
James 4:14,15 declares this,
“14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
The future is in the Lord’s hands, so we can make preparations, but it is within the Lord’s will whether we can do what we propose to do. Humility and flexibility should shape our future planning as we are trusting in the Lord’s providential plan.
2. Pray for God’s mercy, especially since we are so prone to fall into moments of anxiety. Be realistic and do not downplay the difficulties that accompany this time of COVID-19 and its restrictions. The writer of the Hebrews teaches us in chapter 12 that we are to endure the Lord’s discipline because we are His sons through Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:9,11 states:
“9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
It is OK to feel sad during this time and struggle with the question, “How long will we have to endure this?” These times are tough and challenging. I pray for those of you in retirement communities who have been told to stay in your apartments and are discouraged from even taking a walk outside. This is not an easy pill to swallow! As the family of God, we are praying for one another and let us continue to do so. It isn’t pleasant, it is hard, but all the more reason to cry out for God’s mercy. We pray to God for healing, for God’s protection, especially for the health care workers, and for patience and perseverance in our faith in God.
May we look to God and the message of His Word to guide and direct us during this time.