Phew! I have been waiting for this moment since Monday morning. Honestly, since Sunday evening. This week has been, quite simply, awful. Not for any horribly traumatic reason. No one has COVID, the kids are fine, my husband and I are still employed. God continues to bless us the same as He always has…and yet, my psyche screams: I DROWN IN MISERY.
See, I don’t actually dislike my job. Regardless of all the daily frustrations, I have no desire to seek a new position and start over someplace else. One of my closest friends is a colleague. I have a nice boss who allows me to work from home so that I can supervise my youngest child’s virtual schooling. I’m compensated fairly based on my labor. So many people are unemployed right now and are looking for work; I should be grateful that I even have a job.
So, what is my problem?
My problem: I would rather be writing…which does not help put food on the table or pay the mortgage.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone’s struggling right now. Suck it up, buttercup, this is your life. Deal with it.
I could rant and rave about how the system is broken – that a household needs at least two incomes to stay afloat nowadays – but that doesn’t solve anything. We are accustomed to a lifestyle that includes certain luxuries that Americans are taught they are entitled to, so I cannot, in good conscience, cut our earnings in half. Enough said. I’m not asking for a handout.
Now that I’m beginning to climb out of the abyss I threw myself into earlier this week, I can reflect on things and try to come up with a better game plan. Any plan, really. Being on COVID time has really flushed my planning skills down the toilet. You’d think I’d have more time to write…but I don’t. By the way, it’s a total myth that all these COVID restrictions would open up time for people to “finally finish writing that novel.” Totally bogus idea. I have as much to do as I ever did, before COVID, and people who DO have time on their hands have lost their jobs and are, most likely, spending all that time trying to find another one.
There are plenty of authors who juggle a full-time job, a family, and their writing time without going completely neurotic, aren’t there? I’m sure they have GREAT advice on how to manage time more effectively. Hello? Anybody out there? Chime in any time now, really.
I know what I need to do, but I still feel discouraged.
Time to open up the Jesus Always devotion book my mother sent me a few years back. Guess what I found? No matter where you are and what you’re going through, God’s Word tells you exactly what you need to hear:
Will my novel ever be accepted for publishing? Only God knows. If so, when will I be successful enough as an author that I can quit my day job? Only God knows.
In the meantime, I should stop worrying about if and when I can finally put in my two-weeks’ notice. I should continue to do my best work, both on the job and in my word processor. I should pray for God to bless my efforts, and leave it all in His hands.
A Christian’s perspective on the coronavirus pandemic
My husband and I traveled to San Diego in February. By some miracle, we avoided infection by the coronavirus, even though we went through four different airports. Naturally, we were aware that the coronavirus was running rampant in China, and that there were already a few cases in the United States. Having a background in science and biology, I was a little concerned, but I admit that I didn’t think much of it. My husband certainly didn’t seem to be worried, and he followed the news more closely than I did.
All the information I heard amounted to this: 1) COVID-19 is an upper respiratory infection like a bad case of the flu that could develop into pneumonia 2) it’s lethality is restricted to the elderly and immunocompromised 3) the media is just trying to get everyone hyped up, as per usual 4) there aren’t many cases in the U.S. and 5) we’ve got this coronavirus thing under control.
“We’ll ride this out, just like we did with SARS and H1N1. This too, shall pass.”
That was the lulling siren song I subscribed to until we returned home from California. Until the reports grew ever more alarming – it was spreading like wildfire in Italy and young people were dying – and people had begun to die here, too. Here. In the invincible U.S. of A.
Far too quickly, this stealthy evil was found to be present and advancing throughout my home state. The peril is among us. If it continued unchecked, there was a real danger of overwhelming our health care system. Social distancing quickly became my new mantra, and I realized that our fragile eggshell society could crack and collapse beneath the weight of this threat. After all, I’ve always believed that – collectively – we Americans are a complacent and arrogant set of entitled brats who require humbling.
What if that is God’s will?
I guess we’ll find out, eventually, won’t we? This too, shall pass. In the meantime, I will trust in God. I pray for all our health care workers and all people in danger of contracting this virus (ahem, i.e. everyone). So far, my family has been spared, and for that I praise God. My husband and I are both still employed and working, and for that I praise God. We still have internet access so that our boys can keep up with their schoolwork, and for that I praise God. I have an outlet in my writing, and for that I praise God.
Throughout all of this, I am thankful for one other thing: so far this disease appears to be sparing young children. God-willing, this will continue to be the case until the end.
I can only pray that during these troubled times we see one another as beloved children of God, instead of as possible sources of contagion and therefore objects to be feared and avoided.
“May you live in interesting times,” indeed! I have always considered that saying as both a curse and a blessing. However, there is much to learn and much to be thankful for. There are opportunities for Christians to shine a light into the Stygian darkness.
Some words of comfort
Our savior is a risen Lord who has conquered death – namely, the fear of death. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their savior from sin need have no fear of death, the sinful world, or the devil. God has promised us that this is the case, and he is a God who keeps His promises. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to read the entire Bible and point out a single instance where God made a promise and did not eventually deliver the goods. Keep in mind that we are creatures bound by time but that God is eternal.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He took up our weaknesses and carried away our diseases.”
Matthew 8:17 (After Jesus heals a man with leprosy, a centurion’s servant, and many other people)
In all things, God’s will is done and it is good. That is a bitter pill to swallow in times like these, when we look at the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases online and grow even more anxious and afraid. It might seem like God has abandoned us, but He has not. Our prayers for Him to take away this horrible new evil that spreads so efficiently via asymptomatic carriers seem to fall on deaf ears. However, this is not the case. God is always listening. He is not a wishing well, but He always answers our prayers…in His timeand according to His good purpose. Meanwhile, our loving Father wants us to keep talking with Him and read His messages to us in the Bible. This is an excellent time to lay your fears down at the feet of Jesus in prayer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Good health is a blessing from God. Our personal health is neither a prize for us to obsess and fret over nor is it a possession to abuse in debauchery. God gave us the precious endowment of good health for use in benefiting others, not only ourselves. If you remain healthy and symptom-free, praise God! And then, maybe instead of hiding inside of your fortress built of 200 rolls of toilet paper with your 14 bottles of hand sanitizer, you could be looking for ways to help others less fortunate than yourself. At the very least, you could donate a few of those containers of hand sanitizer to your local hospital or clinic.
In every way I gave you an example that, by working hard like this, we need to help the weak and to remember the words that the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
We are not in control. It was all just an illusion that we cultivated while things were going well. The fact is: we never were in control. God is and always has been in control of the universe that He lovingly created. It is human beings in their sinful arrogance that wrecked everything and brought death into God’s perfect creation. We have only ourselves to blame for this pestilence. Fortunately, despite our continually rebellious and arrogant nature, our loving God had a plan to redeem us all.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And finally, one of our pastors preached last Sunday on Psalm 42 & 43. I suggest you visit our church’s website and watch his sermon.
For the choir director. A maskil by the Sons of Korah.
Longing for the Temple
1 As a doe pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and appear before God? 3 My tears have been food for me day and night, while people are saying to me all day, “Where is your God?”
4 I am overcome by my emotions whenever I remember these things: how I used to arrive with the crowd, as I led the procession to the house of God, with loud shouts of thanksgiving, with the crowd celebrating the festival.
5 Why are you so depressed, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I will again praise him for salvation from his presence.
Remembrance of the Lord
6 My God, my soul is depressed within me. Therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, from the heights of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your rapids. All your breakers and your waves have swept over me. 8 By day the Lord commands his mercy, and at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go around mourning because of oppression by the enemy?” 10 It is like breaking my bones when my foes taunt me. All day long they say to me, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you so depressed, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I will again praise him for my salvation from the face of my God.
A Plea for Vindication
1 Judge me justly, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation. Rescue me from the deceitful, wicked man. 2 I know you are God, my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go around mourning because of oppression by the enemy? 3 Send out your light and your truth. Let them guide me. Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and gladness. Then I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
5 Why are you so depressed, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I will again praise him for my salvation from the face of my God.