Preface to this post: The week before Coronavirus shutdowns began to be implemented, I had determined that I was going to publish a blog post on March 19, 2020. It was exactly a year from my last post, and the first day of spring, so it seemed a very hopeful thing to do to start afresh. Ironically, though I had already intended to post about my health, it had nothing to do with Coronavirus, rather a desire to share some things that have been helpful to me.
My post about my health will come out soon, but as we pause life over the next few weeks for the sake of health, I think it brings into sharper focus the things that really matter (including, but not limited to physical health). And I want to speak to that briefly, as we probably have more time to reflect than usual.
When we can no longer watch or play sports, when we aren’t allowed to sit in a restaurant to eat, when we aren’t physically at school or a job, we begin to see what is truly necessary. Like toilet paper. And food. And connecting with people. And connecting with God.
This weekend as we faced the coronavirus suddenly shutting down nearly every outside activity, I was simply trying to make my youngest heal from a different illness (and trying to keep everyone else from getting it as well). The heightened attention to health began to wear on me as I wiped surfaces, demanded handwashing, washed clothes and sheets, and administered home remedies.
Finally, as we watched our church’s streaming online sermon on Sunday and our pastor spoke about overcoming anxiety by prayer, I broke down. I realized that I had been trusting in all of my efforts, feeling like a failure when I failed to make her healthy or keep others from getting her cold. I felt all the weight of our health on my shoulders. And it was too much for me.
I hadn’t left room for the possibility that God was using this situation to draw me to Himself and increase my faith. I was wearing myself out (and being short and grumpy with the kids in the process) trying to control our own outbreak.
I needed to trust that God was also at work, healing and guiding us. When I laid down my desire for control and asked God to do what I could not, I began to relax. Even though nothing had changed in my circumstances, God had changed my entire perspective, giving me peace and hope again.
It’s that peace and hope that I want all of you to have. To have the relationship with Jesus that gives you freedom to run to Him, admit you’re wrong or just cry that you have no answers, and sink into His comforting, loving arms, knowing that’s it’s ok not to have all the answers, ok even to be sick for a time.
When I turn to Jesus, I remember that God is in control, not me (Proverbs 19:21). I remember that this life is not all there is because, as His follower, I will someday live eternally in God’s new creation where there will be no sickness and every tear will be dried (Revelation 21:4). I remember that I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control (I Timothy 1:7).
My daughter is feeling better and we’re mostly healthy, praise God. I will do what I can to keep us healthy, but hold that goal with open hands, knowing that my plans may not accomplish what I want them to. (“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9) It is the times when we’re down that we grow and find that God was there all the time, just waiting for us to come to Him.
God wants a relationship with us, to find our peace and satisfaction in Him. I’ll leave you with some of my favorite verses when I’m anxious or fearful that help me remember who God is and that He is the one I need to run to. May they help you run to Him as well.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”