This is not a post about the coronavirus. Not really.
It’s more about an issue this virus has plunged all of us into: uncertainty.
Of course, we have lived with uncertainty every day of our lives. We don’t ultimately know what the future holds. Many of us don’t even have concrete plans for the future.
But few of us have dealt with so much uncertainty about so much in our lives.
- When will we have church again?
- When can students go back to school?
- What if I contract COVID-19?
- What if my elderly grandparents get COVID-19?
- What if I have to go to the hospital?
- When can I go to the mall again?
- What’s going to happen to the economy?
- Will I be able to find toilet paper???
Everything about our world feels remarkably tenuous right now. Systems that previously seemed powerful now appear fragile and unsteady. We sit in our homes reading the news and watching the updates and hitting refresh a hundred times a day, but each update only adds to the uncertainty.
There’s uncertainty swirling in my own heart, especially as I think about the birth of my daughter who’s due in only a few weeks. Already my birth plan needs to be rewritten in some difficult ways, and I have big fears and questions about what the next month-and-a-half holds. Even as I write, I’m processing how to live in such a time as this.
I know I’m not alone, though. In the midst of a global pandemic, the entire world is living with uncertainty. But this is what I’ve been deeply convicted of: Christians should live with uncertainty differently.
Instead of fumbling through each day in fear, instead of being immobilized by anxiety, instead of feeling paranoid or panicked, we should cling to the most radically certain thing in this life: our great God.
He is the unchangeable One in a rapidly changing world. No matter what happens with our health, with our jobs, with our birth plans, with our economy, with our supplies, God is reliable, trustworthy, sovereign, and faithful.
Of old you [Lord] laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. (Ps. 102:25–27)
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Ps. 115:3)
“For I the LORD do not change.” (Mal. 3:6)
God Isn’t Surprised
The coronavirus did not sneak up on God. He is not surprised or startled by it, just like he was not surprised or startled by any plague, pandemic, war, or atrocity in the past.
God has always made it possible for Christians to be faithful through long, difficult seasons of adversity.
In the midst of the uncertainty of the Spanish Flu—when roughly one-third of the world was infected with this disease and at least fifty million people died—Christians still remained faithful.
In the midst of the uncertainty of World Wars I and II—when the whole world watched their sons and husbands and fathers leave their homes to fight, and tens of millions died—Christians still remained faithful.
In the midst of the uncertainty of the Black Death—when 14th century Europe, Asia, and Africa saw fifty million people die of the bubonic plague—Christian still remained faithful.
We are not the first Christians to deal with global uncertainty, and we won’t be the last.
Faithful through Every Uncertainty
Let’s not be tempted to think we can’t deal with this faithfully. We can. It is terribly difficult, yes, but what a time for the Church to shine as a light to the world!
In the midst of this uncertainty—
- Let’s pray more than ever.
- Let’s read God’s Word more than ever.
- Let’s communicate with our brothers and sisters in Christ more than ever.
- Let’s repent more than ever.
- Let’s encourage others more than ever.
- Let’s remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness more than ever.
In the midst of uncertainty, we need hope. And we have it in our good and sovereign God. Though many around us don’t have this hope, we have an opportunity at this moment in history to point them to it.
Friends, let’s not waste it.
Jaquelle Ferris is a twenty-something writer from eastern Canada. She’s a graduate of Thomas Edison State University and co-founder of The Young Writers Workshop. She is author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (2017). You can find more of her writing at JaquelleCrowe.com.