Surreal. That’s the word that stays in my mind. It feels like our world has changed so much in the last few weeks. When did words like “quarantine” enter our daily conversation? Was it only a month ago that life was normal — that grocery store shelves were fully stocked and we thought nothing of shaking hands with people we met?
More of my city shuts down every day. The zoo. The libraries. Many restaurants have closed their dining rooms and only provide food from the safety of a drive-thru window, and banks have closed some locations. Normal life has disappeared quickly and drastically. What if coronavirus changes our daily lives even more? What if life never returns to the “normal” I remember?
The great unknown(s)
A few days ago, our Kansas governor closed all K-12 schools — public and private — for the rest of the school year. I work at a daycare within a school, so while my job is not yet affected, my daily reality at work looks very different than it ever has during the several years I’ve worked there. Hallways are empty. Fewer children are in the building. And all of us are wondering what will change next. The atmosphere is charged, straining with the tension of the unknown.
None of us really know what is happening next, and it scares us.
The coronavirus has clearly become a pandemic. How many lives will it take from our communities? How long will social distancing be a daily reality? How long will hospitals be at risk of filling up?
I don’t know.
How will our society be changed because of this virus? Will our post-coronavirus normal be different from before? How different?
I don’t know.
Will panic-buying continue? Will stores be able to stay stocked? How long will my church cancel Sunday services?
I don’t know.
This fear of the unknown can be debilitating — or at least time-consuming. We’re terrified of what we don’t know. It feels like the world is changing almost by the hour, and it’s unsettling to have so many questions about the future.
The reason for our hope
“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus told His disciples. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The coronavirus has certainly been a lot of trouble. But just like every other scary situation or inconvenient change of plans, this illness has already been overcome by Jesus. Coronavirus can’t stop His plan or even change it.
I know this may sound like a trite, Sunday-school answer, but every answer to every fear we ever have will always be this: Jesus is bigger than what scares us. He does not bow to dangerous situations and uncertain futures. He does not give up His authority to pandemics. Our futures are just as secure as they always have been, and coronavirus can’t touch our foundation for eternity.
This is the hope that has comforted God’s people for generations.
Christians have faced highly contagious illnesses before. They have faced wars, atomic bomb scares, lions in the gladiator arena, and financial crises far greater than any we’ve ever seen. Even right this minute there are Christians in other parts of the world enduring unspeakable tragedies and persecution — just as it has been since Jesus’ day. In every single one of these troubles, we can look back and see the faith other Christians had (or still have) and how Jesus walked with them through it. We can trust that He will do no less for us.
The other day the parents of a child in my class e-mailed us that they are praying for us as we “navigate these strange times.” That phrase keeps echoing in my head. These strange times. This uncharted territory.
But just because we don’t have a map for these times doesn’t mean we’re lost. As Christians hoping in the God who saved us eternally and won’t leave us now, all we have to do is follow Jesus one step at a time. Just like the Christians who have gone before us.
In one sense, so much has changed about daily life. In another sense, not much has changed. We are still called to love and serve those around us and look for ways to use our time wisely.
This time of quarantining and social distancing can become a time of discovery for us if we spend our extra time growing closer to God, seeking out ways to help others, and even experimenting with some new hobbies. The Boundless Quarantine Challenge is a great place to start.
Meanwhile, we remind ourselves and other believers that our future is secure.
In the years before WWII, Corrie ten Boom and her sister and father (“Opa”) raised several foster children. One of those former foster daughters lived in a cellar for a year with her husband and young children as Hitler rained bombs on Holland. Corrie later wrote:
“[Our former foster daughter] told me in later years that over and over again she repeated to her children, ‘Opa taught us, “When Jesus takes your hand, He keeps you tight. When Jesus keeps you tight, He leads you through your whole life. When Jesus leads you through your life, He brings you safely home.”‘”
Copyright 2020 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.