Last week on a video chat with some close friends, I told them I was really thankful to not be one of those popular Christian writers who are expected to speak to cultural issues. “I don’t wanna write about the coronavirus. There are so many articles out there already.” I said.
Famous last words, I guess.
Because just two hours later, I found myself typing away.
That same day, tears filled my eyes while hugging my husband. I was overwhelmed with emotion, partially due to fear and also a burden for those most at risk for mortality. I must admit though, that my sadness had more to do with things of much smaller importance.
I saw my plans slipping from my fingers and it grieved me. My first summer with my baby boy, TGCW20 (a conference for Christian women) with my friends, vacation with my family at the beach. All of it is up in the air and I’m bummed.
But wisdom sprouted from my husband’s mouth, giving me a deeply needed reminder. I’m prayerful it will encourage your heart as it has mine.
What Do I Want?
His words caused me to pause and ponder what my heart was longing for. To be honest, I wanted a few things:
For this virus to be over immediately.
That his job as a healthcare worker wouldn’t keep him away from myself and our son.
To remain healthy and not contract it.
That loved ones in my family and church would be okay.
To keep all my plans.
To go back to life as normal.
That it wouldn’t crush our economy.
To be able to leave my home.
And honestly, some sunshine would be great too!
My kingdom come. My will be done.
Focus on My Kingdom = Despair
We can feel it—our little kingdoms are falling. Our jobs are up in the air, our children aren’t in school (those who aren’t homeschooled), no more playdates or parks, vacations are cancelled. Even our food and toiletry choices are limited. In America, we’re used to having our way. We want it all, and we want it now.
Even as Christians, it’s easy to get swooped up into this westernized way of thinking. Praise God for usurping our little kingdoms!
Many of us are looking forward to good things. Edifying conferences to grow our faith, making memories with our loved ones on vacation—it’s okay to, in a way, “grieve” the small losses the coronavirus causes, so long as we don’t pout. We have the freedom to acknowledge that we’re sad to miss out on these things. We don’t, however, have the freedom to shake our fist at the God who is sovereign over them.
But what about the bigger, more significant losses looming over our heads? Each of us can point to at least one person in our life who is vulnerable to the severe effects of this sickness. It’s possible that many of us will lose a friend, grandparent, father, mother, or mentor to the coronavirus. Some will not be able to afford their bills due to job loss. Our lives will not be unscathed. We will weep. We will lament. And we should. But we can have hope and peace, trusting in our Father even as tears fall.
We must view both the big and small losses through the lens of God’s Kingdom.
Focus on God’s Kingdom = Peace
When my eyes are fixed on my own little world and what I long for, it’s easy to be discouraged, fearful, and frustrated by what’s happening. But when I zoom out and ponder how God will save lives, sanctify his people, and draw nations to himself, the peace that passes understanding covers my soul.
God is working. He is building his kingdom through the coronavirus. He uses the terrible things in life and turns them on their head, drawing his people to himself through them. Imagine our brothers and sisters who will be saved through this pandemic. Think upon how God is cleansing his Church by exposing our false refuges and idols, causing us to treasure Christ above all things. This is hard, but many times hard things become good. Not in and of themselves, but because the fruit that’s produced from suffering is good fruit.
I ask you, friend, what do you want? Whose kingdom are you seeking today? Do you trust that God knows best? I’m working through these questions as well.
We may lose many things in this life that we hoped for. But God is calling the dead to life through COVID-19. May we lay aside our tiny kingdoms and seek first his Kingdom.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33 ESV