By Dr. Deb Waterbury
I was walking into a grocery store the other day, and while dutifully using the antiseptic wipes provided for me at the front door, I began wiping the handrail on the cart. An older gentleman walked up next to me and began doing the same thing to his cart. I looked over at him and smiled, to which he said, “It’s a new world, isn’t it?”
I kind of laughed a little and replied, “It will be back to normal before you know it.”
I started to walk away, but not before hearing him mutter under his breath, “I don’t know about that.”
I stopped and looked back at him. He looked at me, and what I saw there wasn’t belligerence or rebellion. What I saw was uncertainty and fear. I smiled again and said, “God is still God. Things will be fine.”
But my words didn’t comfort him. He simply smiled wanly back and walked into the store, the same look of fear plastered across his weathered face.
His face has plagued me these last couple of weeks. It’s the same face I see on every news broadcast, every special report, and all across social media. There’s no doubt that what I’m seeing is the face of fear, but I don’t think it’s necessarily fear of a virus or a pandemic or any kind of impending disaster. I think this fear has come because the rug has been pulled out from underneath humanity’s illusion of control.
For the first time in many, many years, people are unsure of their futures. They are traversing through unknown waters, and it is that unsurety that has left them reeling, not necessarily some virus that they might catch. What will tomorrow look like? Will this end? What will happen to us in the aftermath? These are the questions haunting society right now, and the not knowing is driving some to despair and depression, wondering what kind of future lay in wait for them.
Sadly, even many who profess to be believers in Jesus Christ have fallen prey to this illusory loss of control. They’ve reacted to this sudden change in our circumstances like a child does when someone unexpected snatches away his security blanket. They’re looking around in bewilderment, wondering what will happen now that the blanket is gone.
Brothers and sisters, you never had a security blanket about your future on this side of eternity. In truth, every single day we breathe on this earth is a walk through the unknown. Every step you take, before, during, and after a disaster is a step that reeks of unsurety. You could be walking next to an old building and a random, loose brick fall out of it and onto your head, and bam! You’re walking the Golden Streets! This is true of all of us—believer and unbeliever alike—but we who know the Savior have a greater anchor on which to hold during the unknown of every second of our lives on this earth.
We have a hope that transcends our circumstances.
We have a peace that surpasses human understanding.
And we do have surety in this unsure life. We have Jesus. We have a Father who never once falls off of His throne and who is always in control.
So all the world from east to west will know that there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I am the One who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the One who sends good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the One who does these things. (Isaiah 45:6-7, NLT)
And with that knowledge, God also tells us
“I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD, your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, CEV)
You see, that very lack of control that we think we are experiencing is actually a constant state of reality for all of humanity. But we belong to the only One in all of the universe who actually has that control! And this is the very One who loves us with a love that is enduring and everlasting and triumphant.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on the earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
There is a peace that goes far beyond our circumstances. It extends well past what the world can understand. That peace is in the knowledge that even though every single second of our lives is unknown, we are loved by a God who not only knows them, but ordains them for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) We are cherished by a Father who shelters us during the storm and who never takes His loving eyes off of us. (Psalm 91:1-16) And we are protected and covered by our Lord who delivers us from every storm. (Psalm 27:1-14)
I am often reminded of an old adage I read a long time ago:
“Once upon a time, a woman asked a wise, old man, ‘Should we pray about the big and the little things, or just the big things?’ The old man smiled and answered, ‘Madam, do you think that there is actually anything that God considers big?’”
Believer, during these times of struggle with what tomorrow might hold, we who know the Hope and Deliverer of all futures should remain calm and at peace. God does not fail; he cannot. After all, God is either God over everything, or He’s not really God at all. And there is no doubt: He is God.
So take a deep breath. Drink in the peace that is available only to those who know it really will work out. And it will, you know. That’s a promise.