The past few weeks have been a non-stop roller coaster of adjusting to new norms of social distancing, quarantines, virtual church and telework. Now, with the prospect of “reopening” on the horizon, we’re faced with learning how to properly wear masks, go back to church, return to work — all with the cloud of coronavirus still looming above us.
In the midst of the chaos, all of us have been affected in some way. Maybe you contracted the disease. Perhaps you’ve been working overtime to keep up. Or maybe you lost your job and you’re dealing with the stress of unemployment and the job hunt.
Coronavirus has wrought chaos in our lives, and the chaos doesn’t seem like it will subside anytime soon. If you’ve been stressed and anxious in these days, you’re not alone.
What hope do we have in the midst of the chaos of coronavirus? Here are a handful of encouraging verses:
1. “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Our God isn’t a cold, distant taskmaster, ambivalent to his children’s pain and unconcerned about their chaos. Instead, he’s a loving, compassionate Father who draws near to us in our suffering.
If you are experiencing fear and anxiety, pray that God would help you to feel his comfort and nearness. He, indeed, is near to the brokenhearted.
2. “The LORD is my strength and my shield.” (Psalm 28:7)
When we face suffering, we often assume that we must be the strong ones. We try to be our own strength and our own shield, showing ourselves and others that we’re in control. But almost overnight, coronavirus destroyed those false notions of self-sufficiency. Our health, routines, jobs and sense of normalcy were ripped out from underneath us.
We all clearly saw that we weren’t in control. And as we tip-toe back to our normal lives, we will still need to lean wholeheartedly on our God. God is — and must be — our strength and our shield.
3. “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death…” (Matthew 26:38)
On its surface, this verse isn’t encouraging at all. How does knowing that Jesus was sorrowful help us in our own pains? I find tremendous comfort in this verse and in the crucifixion accounts as a whole. This verse (and those passages) remind me that Jesus suffered.
Dwell on the gravity of this truth: The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, the One who has always existed and will always exist — this Jesus humbled himself to become one of us. He walked in our shoes, he stubbed his toes, he experienced sorrow, he felt the ache of an empty stomach.
And, yes, he suffered — in an unimaginable way. Jesus truly understands our suffering because he suffered, too.
4. “’O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
Jesus suffered, and Jesus died, but that wasn’t the end of his story. Jesus rose from the grave to defeat death. As a result, all of us who turn from our sins and place our faith in him will be spared God’s wrath, and we’ll have hope in this life and for all eternity.
Here’s what this means: Death, the worst possible thing that could happen to any of us, has already been defeated. Jesus has conquered the grave. And our faith in him gives us the assurance that one day we will conquer the grave, too.
This truth may not make suffering any more enjoyable, but it does give us hope. Even if you have to stay at home longer, or face altered employment, or adjust to wearing masks in public, or even contract coronavirus yourself, you have a promise that the end is not the end. Indeed, death no longer has a sting. God gives us the victory through Jesus.
Coronavirus has brought chaos to our lives. But we worship a King who is bigger than the chaos. Rest in his hope, comfort and joy.