I’ve experienced stages of grief because of this pandemic. First came denial. “This can’t be happening. It can’t possibly be that bad. Surely we will recover quickly.”
Next, I experienced depression. “Oh no! It’s really bad! Recovery is going to be slow and costly!” My loved ones are losing loved ones. Friends are testing positive.
One day would be good and the next would be sad.
I acknowledge that some of this is my own fault. I can forget to focus on that which is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.” I can forget my kingdom perspective and shift my eyes downward to the things of this world that I’ve trusted and desired.
I’ve begun to notice how many of us in this country have been given beautiful gifts. We’ve enjoyed security, comfort and the freedom to come and go. We’ve used our freedom of speech to excess. We’ve greedily taken these gifts and redefined them as rights. We’ve taken the gifts and ignored the Giver. That makes me sad…because I see my ingratitude on display.
I’ve discovered another element in my sorrow. I was created for relationship and now I’m confined. I was also created in Christ Jesus to do good works. And I now have limits. This pandemic directly opposes everything God wants for us.
I began to see this more clearly when I pondered Jesus’ example of washing feet (John 13:1-17). Jesus humbly bent down and washed the feet of every one of His disciples. He lovingly did the dirty work which required physical contact. He washed the dirty feet of the one who would betray Him. He washed the smelly feet of the one who would deny Him. He washed the unclean feet of the one who would doubt Him. He washed the feet of every one of those who would abandon Him in His loneliest, most difficult moment. Why?
Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater that the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
I can see this kind of hands-on service by many people today, but none more clearly than the medical community. They are fighting on the front line. All I am asked to do is stay home, read a good book and relax. They are asked to heal, comfort, and care for those who carry a deadly virus, frightened of the unknown. Working countless hours, these heroes have considered others needs first.
I pray that those who are serving the suffering during this pandemic will know the reality of their blessing. I hope they recognize that they have served as God’s coworker, a conduit of His loving touch. I hope they can see the beauty in the dirty work.
So yes, I’ve been troubled because I’m prohibited from enjoying relationships in the way I’ve been accustomed. But I’m learning new ways. I’m disappointed that opportunities to serve are more limited. But again, I’m learning new ways.
And now…a new phase of grief has replaced the others. I’m angry. I’m angry with the enemy who is at work stealing, killing and destroying. He has killed too many. He has robbed our children of security. He has stolen jobs. He is trying to destroy hope and confidence. The list is extensive.
I’ve become angry enough to start fighting. I’ve been learning a lot about courage. My prayers are changing from a victim’s plea (yet those are crucial) to a warrior’s cry. I’m using Zoom, FaceTime, texts and phone calls to maintain relationships and to foster hope. Acts of service have new motives. My eyes are fixed on the One who leads victoriously and I’m attentively listening. And I’m looking for His resurrection power.
After all…If God is for us, who can be against us?
Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thought to ponder?
In the midst of this pandemic, how can I remain faithful to God’s call to relationship and serving others?