This season of life has varied for everyone in it. I know friends who have lost jobs, I know friends who have gotten sick, I know friends who have struggled with anxiety and depression, I know friends who have lost loved ones during this time. For many, this is a time of lament. Life feels difficult, it feels dark. Despair and hopelessness seem just around the corner, never knowing when this season will subside, when things will return to normal.
For me, personally, there were some challenges to be sure. I am a very extroverted person, I love spending time with others. I would pack my entire week with adventures with friends if I could. Being socially distant could easily lead to being emotionally distant, and that was what I feared most.
But God knew what I needed. Before things began to shutdown entirely, I went back home to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and stayed with my family there while work was remote-only. I stayed there for nearly two months, and am so thankful that I had this opportunity. Having family around provided plenty of interaction, and I felt at peace knowing I was with them.
In many of the ways that I saw friends around me struggle, the hardships that they experienced, I was blessed to avoid these. My boss made a joke the other day that God had already let me go through an incredibly difficult time, and so he was giving me a bit of a breather this time around. In many ways, he’s not wrong. I still had a job; my parents still had their jobs. We were all healthy, we had food on the table. King David talks about how the Lord provides a life without lack in Psalm 23, and in many tangible ways, I saw that.
But more than just the things that we had, like food, jobs, toilet paper (still not sure why that was such a big commodity), God continued to show me that peace and joy are found when we abide in him. Joy doesn’t come from a busy schedule filled with fun and excitement. In many ways, things like that can even distract us from God. Joy doesn’t come from intimate relationships with friends, but rather is found in building an intimate relationship with the Creator himself. The real, lasting peace that we seek is not found in a diversified stock portfolio, but in putting our trust and our hope on the truth that Jesus Christ defeated sin and death and seeks to invite us into his loving sufficiency.
For many, this truth is hard to find when the world throws everything it can at them. The trial I went through brought much of this, with bad news being followed by bad news, and disappointment wiping away the happiness I thought I could muster. But as followers of Christ, we can rest assured of his sovereignty. We can continue to praise him, even as our dreams appear to shatter right before our eyes, for we know that God works all things to his glory and his purpose, and it is that glory that brings salvation and life and peace and joy. Above all else, I pray that we continue to place our hope in Christ Jesus, not in a vaccine, not in unemployment benefits, not even in the old ways of life we are slowly getting back. Those ways will never satisfy the void that only Christ can fill.