If I had titled this essay before August 2019, I would have chosen the title “Thoughts in a pandemic.” But I’m a hospital student chaplain this year, and “thoughts” seemed too cerebral. With the novel corona virus raging, it has stirred up emotions in me, feelings like fear, sadness, anxiety, dread, and disorientation.
When I get scared, portions of Scripture calm me. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) assures:
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Some Christians find comfort in the “God is in control” mantra. The problem with that statement is that with total control comes total responsibility. But I don’t hold God responsible for COVID-19 because that kind of a sadistic God doesn’t fit who Jesus is, and Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father (John 14:9). God is not the cause of this pandemic nor of the various sicknesses I see in patients I visit at the hospital. But what I do hold God responsible for is coming alongside us in the middle of our suffering, strengthening us, and helping us through. That’s the take-away from Isaiah 41. God is with us! The LORD will sustain us; God will help us in the middle of the storm.
Take a deep breath. Slowly let it out. Are you afraid today? God is on your side. Inhale his love and compassion; exhale your anxiety. All will be well.
Pablo Jarrín / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)