We’re all in lock down. For a crime we didn’t commit. A crime no one committed, a virus. An invisible mass of molecules so powerful, it has stopped our world from spinning.
This is what we say we wanted. Not the virus, but the time. Time to rest. Time to be with family. Time to check things off our perennial list. Now we have it and we don’t think we want it.
We crave our normal day. Sitting in line for our pricey lattés and chatting up friends for plans after work. Catching up with coworkers and pressing deadlines that never disappear. Only now, they have disappeared.
We think we’ll rest more, catch up on our sleep. But fear doesn’t sleep well. It watches the news every hour, the climbing death toll, the political bickering and the stock market fall. We look at our finances and try to devise a plan. But then we look at how long it took China to recover. And we’re not so sure our nest egg will suffice.
We reach. For explanations. For strategies. For a cure. For someone to blame. We wonder if anyone ever predicted an economic earthquake of this magnitude. We troll Amazon for some Orwellian tome to guide us out of the chaos.
The ebb and flow of good times has ceased, and everyone is in crisis mode. Is my job secure? Can I pay my bills? Do we have enough toilet paper? How can I avoid buying produce that some foolish teenager coughed on? How long will this last? Am I going to get sick? Is my family going to get sick?
And just like that, we don’t feel so confident. Or prepared. Or sure-footed. We feel small. Like a Lilliputian in Gulliver’s travels and our way of life has been shipwrecked. At least for now.
Some of us are spinning, grasping for things to hold onto. The maypole we were dancing around is uprooted and now we’re tethered to nothing. Some of us crash into one another while others trip over our new normal.
We hear so many voices telling us what we should do. Wash your hands. Cough into your elbow. Scratch your social plans. Keep 8 ft’ apart from everyone. Stay home. Clean everything. Keep calm. Don’t panic.
There is so much we don’t know. And that scares us. Yesterday we were walking comfortably on sure ground. Today we’re clinging to a tightrope across Niagara Falls.
Those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus are supposed to be different. It isn’t that we don’t fear or worry. It’s that we’ve been taught to cast all our anxiety on God because He cares for us. The Bible even says, ‘Do not fear’ 365 times. One time for every day of the year. One time for the day the virus hit. And every day after.
Those who call themselves Christians are in a pivotal place. Do we really trust God when He tells us He will never leave us or forsake us? Or are these words just warm and fuzzy niceties spoken to make us feel better?
We’re being tested. Are we true Christ-followers? Or have we been playing church all these years? What do we truly believe?
Do we believe that if we dwell in the shelter of the Most High we will rest in the shadow of the Almighty?
Do we believe that His massive arms are wrapped around us, protecting us? That we can run under His covering of majesty and hide? That His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping us from harm?
Do we believe that God sends His angels with special orders to protect us wherever we go, defending us from all harm?
Do we believe that because we have delighted in Him as His great lover, He will greatly protect us and set us in a high place, safe and secure before His face?[i]
Fear is powerful. But what we believe is extremely powerful.
Which is greater? A deadly virus that’s invaded 173 out of 195 countries and killed more than 16,000 people worldwide? Or the Creator of Life who healed the sick, raised the dead and was raised to life Himself?
What you believe matters. It determines what happens today, tomorrow and the rest of your life.
This once in a lifetime crisis begs us to bare our souls and ask ourselves what we truly believe. Isn’t that the best use of this time we’ve been given?
[i] Psalm 91 The Passion Translation