I’m not in control anymore. Can I trust the one who is?
Probably like a lot of people, I thought life was going ok. Things to improve here and there, but I felt mostly positive, like I was in control.
Until now, we have been relatively safe in our seemingly unreachable island, where other pandemic causing diseases have mostly kept their distance. Generally we are safe from famine, forest fires, hurricanes and volcanoes. As a village or town, we are rarely threatened by much more than high winds that may cause a wheely bin to fall over or a tile to fall off a roof. For some, catastrophe ventures into houses in the form of floods or fires, but these don’t rock a whole population.
Then suddenly, we are launched into a whirlwind of uncertainty and worry, panic buying and having to resign ourselves to the fact that this virus is coming our way. Now, the security we took for granted and rely on has been taken away from us. Jobs, income, health, childcare, school, routines, the NHS, the prospect of holidays, days out and events that we were looking forward to, holding onto even – many of these things are looking very wobbly for many people right now. Even the ordinary or maybe stressful things in life have gone; days in the office, days at school, the commute to work, exams. Those whose whole lives are governed by school term times and holidays are feeling lost. A lot of us are wondering if our own bodies will fight this virus adequately and if we’re not worried for ourselves, we are worrying for a family member or friend. For those of us who thought we were in control of our lives, we are faced with the harsh realisation that we are not.
So if we are not in control, what or who is? And do we trust them? In reality, there is no human being in this world who can guarantee your safety. So, can we look outside humanity?
John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…
If you believe what the Bible says is true, then you believe that God loves this world and the people in it, that he cares for is in our situation.
But it’s hard to put all your trust in someone who you’ve never trusted before, or who you feel has let you down, or whose actions don’t seem to make sense. Why would you trust someone who lets this illness kill people and make them suffer? It’s a good question. Maybe it would be easily answered if we could see things from his perspective. The perspective of someone incomprehensively bigger in size and power and love than us. It’s a place we can’t put ourselves in.
It’s a little similar to when we were children and the adult looking after us did something we didn’t understand like, forcing us to move house or school or bedroom. There was a bigger plan that we had no way of understanding because our perspective was different.
As children, we learn to trust our adults or parents as they provide us with food and clothes and other things we need. This makes it easier to trust when things get difficult or confusing, but it doesn’t make it a walk in the park. Just as moving house or school may have shaken your world when you were a child, this virus is shaking and will shake many people’s worlds. Your parents knew the bigger plan just as God knows the bigger plan, but we can’t see it yet.
Lots of people have seen God come through in the past. They trust God because he has been there before. When you’re used to trusting someone, you trust them more easily.
About four years ago, my life changed suddenly and unexpectedly. The immediately future looked uncertain and scary. I was 27 weeks pregnant and I was hit with the discovery that my unborn child was seriously ill with something the doctors had never seen before. Four days later he had to be born with the likelihood that he wouldn’t survive. When he had lived through the first few hours, and an operation, we were faced with the prospect of a long time away from home, at least a few months, and we didn’t know if we would come home with a baby or not. I knew that this time would pass eventually but I didn’t know what would happen during that time. I knew God had provided for me and looked after me up till then in my life and wanted to believe that he would look after my baby too. The problem was, I knew he wouldn’t guarantee survival. There were people who had strong faith who had still died of illness or had loved ones die. I knew that God could save my child, but I wasn’t sure he would. I couldn’t be sure that was his plan. Without knowing what would happen I chose to believe that his plan was good, and that it was too big for me to understand.
I am pleased to say that my child is doing really well now, and a lot of good has come from the experience. But here we have a new situation. Will God come through for us this time? I believe so. Will it be as we expect? Probably not. Will it be clear what is going on in a few years? Maybe.
At the moment we are like ants who have had a cup put over us. When will it end? Will everything have changed when it does? Only God knows.