Welp, the Coronavirus has hit our shores, and in a big way. The mad dash to gather essentials left echoes throughout empty isles inside grocery stores. Restaurants and bars are closing down, or being mandated to prepare to-go orders only. Certain areas of the country are slowly creeping toward lockdown scenarios, perhaps we all are. Many companies are going virtual, implementing work from home restrictions. Schools are closing country wide. No NCAA tournament, no NBA, no spring training or golf, no sports- period. The stock market’s plunge, losing a third of its value from earlier this year. And sadly, the death toll rises as our confirmed cases dramatically increase, both domestically and abroad.
Who would’ve thought this could happen in our lifetime. Who saw something so drastic as a possibility in our world today, besides a handful of disease experts who can now unfortunately utter the phrase “I told you so?!” I’ve seen plenty of movies that show our world being brought to its’ knees- from asteroids, to infections and even zombie mutation. I never thought that I’d actually see a viral infection create such chaos. And yet, here it is and it must be dealt with.
I’m of the mindset that we have a choice. As many times before in our nation’s history we can stand and fight. This time, we’re fighting an invisible enemy however, not some foreign nation. We’re also fighting ourselves and our routines. We’re fighting our short-term selfish desires verses the health of many with the decisions we make. We’re fighting mental health as fear grips our nation, and the fact that we all respond differently to trials. We’re fighting spiritually whether we realize it or not, as we can choose whether we lean toward God via prayer and The Word amidst troubles, or stay gripped by fear. Bottom line- this is a fight, and how we respond will ultimately decide the overall depths of this crisis, both economically and the health repercussions.
I met a gentleman named Wes from Kansas City last month when playing a round of golf. His wife road along with him while he played 18 holes with a colleague and me. We had casual conversation throughout our those few hours. I then offered to text some recommended sites and restaurants they could check out while visiting. I also shared the blog via text message, figuring he’d check it out if he felt pulled to do so. I hadn’t heard from Wes since- until today.
I have been struggling to write amidst this crisis. My day job has me reeling 10+ hours each day, and I’m emotionally and mentally spent most evenings. I think the weight of this situation has taken a toll on my mind and spirit, leaving very little peace amidst the chaos. I don’t believe in irony. Wes’ text message this morning was a very kind gesture. He gave me an update on their trip and wanted to thank me for the recommendations. He also wanted me to know that he’s enjoyed reading this blog- how awesome! What he probably didn’t realize is that the text was just what I needed for this post and to replenish my spirit. He shared one of his favorites scriptures, as I believe The Holy Spirit led him to do:
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. New hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5
I don’t think challenging situations are all happenstance. I don’t believe every battle the human race faces is an attack from the enemy. I’ve been through many periods of adversity in life, as any regular reader of this blog is aware. I don’t know any person who is immune to trouble, pain, anxiety or heartache. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t struggled, and who won’t moving forward. What I do know from the verse above is that God uses trouble as a conditioning mechanism for us. “Tribulation produces perseverance,” – THANK GOD! Perseverance to character, and character to hope- THANK GOD! I read this and rejoice for our world. We’re nowhere near finished with this crisis. We can only choose how we respond to the tribulation, both as a nation and individually.
I had a gentleman who I’m friends with on Instagram ask me what word I’m choosing amidst this trial. I’m still not sure if he was referring to a bible passage, or a word I’m choosing amidst this chaos- as a motto of sorts. The bible passage would now have to reflect Wes’ passage from his text today, as noted above. The word SURRENDER doesn’t just come to mind- it floods my mind. That’s a perfect motto for these times. We get to SURRENDER this crisis and all of it’s heaviness to God. We don’t have to fight this alone. We don’t have to let fear grip our hearts and throats. Uncertainty is creating panic. The “what if” scenarios are creating havoc. Yet, if we all just possess the FAITH to fully SURRENDER this pandemic to God, we’d all feel a lot more peace within.
What if we all prayed more? What if we let this situation create unity in prayer. I’m willing to bet God would appreciate the worship, as He’s the only one who can truly bring us through the entirety of this situation (or any other for that matter). Life is about a relationship with God. Life is about discovering our need for a savior, and then leaning into Him via gratitude for blessings and solace throughout hardships. Every struggle, every challenge, every uncontrollable situation of fear is a chance to Surrender to God. This virus and all of the trickle down pain CAN be used for GOOD if we allow it to serve as one more door opened for us to TRUST HIM with the outcome.
I pray this virus is halted faster than anticipated. I pray for anyone who is exposed, especially those with pre-existing health conditions. I pray we can become stronger together, alongside one another accompanied by God as our Mighty Warrior and Protector. I pray we can make selfless choices to shelter those whose immune systems are weaker than ours. I pray we shut down for a while and spend intentional time with loved ones. I pray we practice gratitude for our health. I pray we have unwavering faith over fear, leaving our future in God’s hands.
Let us lean in amidst this tribulation, as we know it will lead to perseverance. Let our perseverance lead to stronger character, both individually and as a nation. Let hope be felt despite current circumstances, as we faithfully SURRENDER this and all things to God. Then, let God shine like only He can.
I pray you’re all safe and healthy.
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