Peace in Pandemic
Coronavirus. A word that permeates our daily conversations. The cases numbers rise, as the stock market plummets. The toilet paper flies off the shelves while the planes stay grounded. Borders close, jobs are taken, loved ones are lost, plans have changed, and joy seems like a very distant memory. Where is the good? Where is God in the midst of such chaos and uncertainity? With an onslaught of bad news everywhere we turn, where can peace be found? If you are anything like me, you have prayed excessively but even with all the time alone, it seems like God Himself is in quarantine, practicing the CDC’s guidelines of social distancing.
When the Swine Flu pandemic wreaked havoc on the planet a little over a decade ago, I found myself among the diagnosed. I was certain I was going to be gone before I was ever even able to graduate from high school. I remember crying excessively and saying goodbye to my friends. Due to all the hysteria, I truly thought there was no hope.
Less than two weeks ago, ironically while I was in New York City, the Coronavirus was officially announced to be a pandemic. I was right there in the epicenter of an area with some of the largest number of cases in the entire world. I was sharing subway rides with all sorts of strangers, including a man coughing without covering his mouth and a few snotty-nosed children.
While living in a proverbial bubble, I was happily twirling under the lights in Times Square without a care in the world. We actually saw the second to last broadway show before it went dark. We walked the pathways of central park and at Chipoltle beneath the Empire State Building. In the words of Nacho Libre- “my life [was] good, really good.” I was relatively calm but as soon as we made our way back toward home, the panic set it. I lost every ounce of peace I had. I started to wonder if the plane was going to let us fly back home. I wondered about the grocery stores, about the people who tested positive and their families. I worried about the toilet paper, and Disney World and my grandma.
I, like the rest of many of the entire world, was afraid. I was afraid and I was doubting. This seemed bigger than when I had the Swine Flu. This looked much different than the panic I have seen when a hurricane inches its way toward Florida. I have weathered many of those storms, and this just seemed like one of those on steroids.
On a more real note, I get it. I have dealt with fear and severe anxiety for most of my teenage years and now my adult life. It can be crippling. I know all the verses. I know that I am supposed to not be afraid, but what do I do when it looks so much bigger than anything I have faced before? Well, my friends, I have the answer.
Just trust Him.
Trust Him when it seems overwhelming. Trust Him when it seems like it’s only getting worse. Trust Him when you don’t see an end in sight and when you can barely take another step. In any and everything, trust Him and give it to Him in prayer, even in a global pandemic. He has never lost a battle.
In addition to trusting Him, dwell on the good things. It is incredible to me how the world has come together in this hour. Look at what the church has risen to during. In the midst of a time when so many have closed their doors, we have only propped open new ones and guided people to Jesus through them. Whoever thought we would be holding multi-thousand soul online services all over the world?! We are more than a building and that is powerful. If you needed a reminder of something good happening in all of this, there it is! The church is alive and well and accelerating, even in a season where everything has seemed to slow down.
I know there has been terrible upheaval. Maybe you have lost your job. Maybe you or a loved one is among the rising number of those who are sick. I do not discredit any of the turmoil that is going on, but aside from the difficulty, and aside from us still moving forward, maybe God is forcing His people to rest from trying to have it all together and do things the way they have always been done. Rest and Reset are two words I have been dwelling on in the midst of such fear and uncertainty.
What a concept. He has allowed the entire world to come to a screeching halt because of a terrible disease but even in taking precautionary measures, we can accept an unexpected gift- resting in Him.
Matthew 11:28-30 is a very familiar and very timely passage for the situation we globally find ourselves. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In the message, this same passage is translated to say this:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Getaway with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Rest in Jesus. Pandemics are big. They can be scary. They can seem like they only bring terror and dread, but even in the midst of chaos, you can find rest for your weary soul. Turn off the news. Open your Bible. I promise you, if you try hard enough, you will see there is peace, even in a pandemic.
Now, go take your vitamins, wash your hands and trust and rest in Jesus. It is going to be okay. We are going to get through this together (at home, of course).
God’s got this.
Rachel Skirvin is a lover of travel, nachos and the gospel. She is a graduate of Urshan College and will most likely always call it Gateway. She just recently married her best friend and together they are serving at The Pentecostals of Cooper City in South Florida.