Many thousands will die.
This will be the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
We are ill prepared to handle this crisis and running out of time.
This time last week, I was boarding a last-minute flight home to the UK from Austria, moments after the Austrian government had announced a national lockdown in response to the global spread of the coronavirus. Stepping aboard a plane full of anxious passengers and cagey crewmembers was an unsettling flying experience I won’t soon forget. Over the last several days, my eyes have been glued to the news, my face grimacing with every COVID-19 update, and I find myself wondering how God could possibly use this panic-inducing crisis for good.
Perhaps, more than ever before in our lifetime, we do need to put our trust in our Father God. Not because it’s what we should do, but simply it’s all that we can do.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act (Psalm 37:5 ESV).
But Rachel, how in the world can I trust God with tomorrow when today is so uncertain?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Not because I have the answers, but because over the last few days, God has been gently teaching me the steady rhythms of supernatural trust. From my progress so far, it’s evident that I have a long way to go, but I’d love to pass on what I’ve learned.
Trust is Relinquishing the Need for Control
If there’s one thing this situation has drilled home, it’s this: nothing in this life is guaranteed except for God Himself. Not my health, career, travel plans, or weekend schedule. It has highlighted to me how much everything is out of my control. For me, that’s why the coronavirus is so scary.
Trusting God, especially when the world feels flipped on its head, is recognizing our place on earth (hint: we are not God), and our need to relinquish the illusion of control to the One who sees, knows, and can do all things.
It means accepting my own limitations, and believing in the promise that Jesus has already overcome the world and is standing with us in victory—not just victory over disease but also victory over fear. In the moments when I feel anxious, instead of giving into panic, I try to see it as an opportunity to shift my focus to something that reminds me that God is in control. One of my “go-to” verses at the moment is John 16:33.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Trust is a Daily Commitment
I don’t know about you, but lately my days have felt like a nauseating carnival ride. My mornings begin full of promise with a long list of “to-do”s, only to succumb to a wave of anxiety the moment the “Breaking News” notifications alert my phone. Suddenly, the worship songs I listened to last week are drowned out by the noise of panic. That’s why I’m convinced more than ever before that trust cannot be a one-time commitment, but must a daily practice.
Much in the same way you brush your teeth or sip your morning latte, trusting God is a practice of daily obedience. It is a rededication of my worship; it’s surrendering my need to know everything. And trust me, this is a hard lesson to learn—especially when each day looks more uncertain than the next.
Simply put, sometimes I don’t feel like trusting God. Some days it’s a lot easier to choose worry over faith. But trusting God is an active choice, not a feeling. Our feelings will change, but choosing to trust in God is an act of faith. Say it with me, I will learn to trust beyond how I feel.
Trust is Inviting God into the Mess
One of the things that gets in the way of me trusting God is my false sense of security. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a frustrating addiction to the need to know everything. (I call this playful curiosity, my husband calls it trouble.) When life’s circumstances become overwhelming, I feel led to ask the questions “Why?” Lately, I have come to realize that I’ve been asking the wrong question all along. Instead of asking “Why God?”, I think we need to be asking “What God?”
What God, are You trying to teach me right now through this situation?
What are You saying to me right now?
What plans do You have for me in an uncertain future?
What one thing do you want me to learn about myself and about You during this hard season?
By asking God the “Whats” instead of the “Whys”, I believe we remove ourselves from the position of victimhood and instead prepare to invite God to work in our lives. It’s a completely normal human response to wonder why bad things are happening. But instead of trying to sort it all out ourselves, Jesus wants us to simply let Him in. After all, He is God and no quarantine measures can keep Him out.
Right now, in my day to day, God is challenging me to not give into fear. I have learned in the last two weeks that I give way too much precious time to negative thoughts and fears. Why do I need to spend hours every day reading about coronavirus—which breeds worry and panic—when I could be doing something more life-giving such as listening to worship music or talking to a close friend?
On the days where anxiety and stress of this current situation weighs on me the most, I’m trying to take it moment by moment; trusting that Jesus understands and sees my every thought and feeling. And, whether it’s taking a calming bath, or taking deep breaths while drinking jasmine tea, I’m learning to shift from worrying about getting coronavirus symptoms or reading the latest news headlines, to doing something positive for my mind and body such as meditating on a comforting Bible verse.
At the moment, life isn’t about answering unanswered questions, but it’s about the small things that nurture my spirit. It’s all about baby steps, friends. The whole world may be on lockdown, but remember; God is not on lockdown—He’s still working.