I keep talking to friends, family members, and colleagues in an attempt to process all of what is going on in our world. I keep coming back to one word, "unprecedented." It's impossible to wrap our heads around. Most of us in the western world have never been through an outbreak of a disease like this. We don't know how to handle it. At times our faith can feel ill-equipped.
Sometimes we wonder where God is in the midst of this. We feel alone as we sit in our houses, taking stock of our hand sanitizer and toilet paper (Do I need a few more rolls?). It is easy to feel abandoned. It's incredibly easy to forget the promise of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:20 "I am with you, always, even to the end of the age." God is WITH you.
I can recall times of challenge when I was a child. My father was very outdoorsy, and frequently took me on difficult hikes over rocky and overgrown terrain when I was a young. I would be fearful; I'd never been there before, there could be anything behind that boulder, or hiding in the tall grass. The hills seemed too steep to climb. I wanted intervention. I wanted him to carry me. He didn't. Instead, he held my hand, and said "it's OK, I'm here." If dad was with me, even if I was frightened, and challenged, things would ultimately be fine.
I'm reminded of these verses.
Isaiah 43:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
Israel’s Only Savior
43 But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
We are not promised the removal of the fire, or the water. We are promised that God is with us. He will be with us. No matter what we face, we do not face it alone. We may feel the heat of the fire, but it won't consume us. We probably will get wet, but not washed away.
The reality of it is, that some of us might get sick. That doesn't mean that God has left us. He is with us. Christ is giving us the grace to walk through. The Christian life isn't easy, but it isn't lonely either. Know that brothers and sisters in Christ across the globe are praying for you and standing with you in Spirit. Know that God being with you is not a feeling, it's a promise. It's fact. Lean in to His promise, and encourage one another