Written by Laurie Macy
I go in and out of dealing well with this current pandemic.
There are times I forget we are in the middle of unprecedented times, and days when I feel overwhelmed by it. I feel in control one moment and the next, uncertain about the future. God is teaching me during this time that I need to grow in relying completely on His control, not mine. He wants me to trust in His love, not my safety.
For me, heading into Scripture to find wisdom and perspective has always given me encouragement and direction. One morning I read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, and it took on new meaning while living in a COVID world.
“I think you ought to know, dear friends, about the trouble we went through in the Province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead…”
Circumstances out of Paul’s control gradually taught him to rely on God, not himself. This feels relevant to me as I face circumstances which I can’t control that are happening all around me.
A few weeks after finding that verse, Pastor David asked the question, “What is the connection between my view of God and my daily walk of faith?” Having grown up a believer, I know a lot about God, but this question challenged me to ask myself a few things.
How does my knowledge of God impact how I truly live?
If I believe God is love and always in control, how does that affect my response to sickness, death, new situations, challenges and even a pandemic?
Do I live my life as if God is trustworthy?
God knows my tendency to fear and He wants to assure me that he is my shield, protector, father and fortress. As I further reflected on this, I reached again back to Scripture to get perspective. How have other saints handled this question?
I thought of David facing Goliath, Peter walking on water, Joshua crossing the river into battle and Paul heading toward Jerusalem. They headed into danger, not away from it! Obedience meant living life based on their view of God. There are times in the Bible when people avoided danger. Paul escaped over the wall in a basket at night. Nehemiah asked for the king’s protection to travel to Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph left Bethlehem and lived in Egypt to avoid King Herod. But the consistent decision – whether heading in or around or away from danger – was the same: obedience to a God worthy of trust. This is an answer to my question.
These men and women did not look at their circumstances but at God.
So often my fears are based on circumstances around me. I realized it is not about preserving this life but following God at all costs. COVID has me focused on preserving this life and, while it is important to make healthy decisions, it is not my life’s goal to make sure I preserve this life on earth. For me, this realization opened a whole new way to view life right now.
I like to be in control and in the past that has let me feel safe. However, this pandemic constantly reminds me that I am not in control. I used to think I was in control, but COVID has stripped away all pretense and shown me reality – that only God is in control.
I saw that my faith had to deepen.
Faith is the opposite of seeking control; faith is the will to surrender it. Faith is the promise that no matter what happens or how dangerous the world is, God is greater and will keep me in Him (Isaiah 43: 1-7).
This deeper faith is about giving up control, not keeping it. I am beginning to learn how to not live a safe life, but a life of faith and trust in God. He is showing me more of Himself, and I am walking in that knowledge, allowing it to affect how I live.
COVID may be changing how I live my life, but it is not changing God, his purposes, and his trustworthiness.