in the chaos of the coronavirus, there’s a hope beyond ourselves.
So much has happened in three weeks, am I right?
I returned to my hometown in Texas in the middle of the semester after my classes went online, so I’ve just been busy telling myself, “I’m not a drop-out, I’m not a drop-out, I’m not a drop-out”.
In all seriousness though, I’ve spent these three weeks doing all kinds of things. Some of it has been really good and beautiful — I’ve spent time cooking, sketching, learning how to edit video (it’s a painfully slow process), going on long walks, and playing more guitar and piano than I’ve ever had time for. It’s been a slowing of my heart, forcing me to enjoy the simple moments fully. There’s been no place to rush to, so I’ve had some sweet times with the Lord and with my family. I’ve tried to be intentional with my time, working to maintain some semblance of a rhythm in the void that is my schedule.
But, even with all that, I have to say, I exhaust myself.
I’m so fickle most times.
Some of these mornings I wake up with intentionality, with optimism, ready to serve and love well. Then, an hour later, I’m irritable, selfish and apathetic. I snap at my siblings or complain about my tasks or boredom. I’m so prone to wander from what’s true and good, and this social distancing seems to make everything a mirror that reflects back my own weakness. To be candid, constantly coming face to face with my own insecurities, fears and brokenness is exhausting and frustrating.
So, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this pandemic so far, it’s this:
We need a better hope than ourselves.
The world constantly tells us that we need only to look inside ourselves for the solution to our identity crisis. It says that if only we spend enough time caring for ourselves, we’ll be able to resolve our restlessness and be fulfilled.
This pandemic is essentially an experiment with that — we’re being left alone with ourselves right now. We have few distractions left to keep us from self-reflection and examination. And I’m here to tell you this, friends, I’ve looked inside myself a lot these past weeks, and what I’ve found isn’t worth putting hope in.
All the things that I’m tempted to put my hope in are upside down — my health, education, community & relationships, a dream job or internship, the next event or activity.
With all those things stripped away, I need a hope outside of myself.
I need something other than me.
In fact, Someone who is completely other — The Lord.
I need the Lord Himself to come and comfort me in my grieving of what won’t be, small as it may seem compared to the world’s suffering. I need Him to pull me towards Himself in my loneliness without the community I treasure so much. I need His strength to direct my thoughts toward what is good and right and excellent when I’m tempted toward sinful things. I need endurance to carry on without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet. I need His promise that He is still on His throne, and that Jesus is my anchor in the chaos of this pandemic.
He is indeed near to us, friends. And in the loneliness and uncertainty, we must remember that no one cares for us like Jesus.
He is a secure hope, and He’s not shaken by stock market crashes or the fear of job loss or even death itself.
There are many opportunities this pandemic has brought, and there are equally as many challenges that come. Even as we push forward with intentionality in this time, I pray we might also come to the place where we find ourselves on our knees, repenting of putting our hope in anything but Him.
We can come to Him with confidence knowing He is our Comforter and Good Shepherd when we feel lost. We can come with honesty about our broken hearts and know He is gentle and the good Father. He is sovereign and far wiser than we could ever imagine, and He is in control.
My restless soul can find rest at last in His promises & presence.
May we take hold of a better hope in Jesus, one that is secure and steady even now.
Thank you so much for reading!
My hope is that you might be encouraged & challenged, and that these pieces might spark life-giving conversations. I would love to hear from you and connect with you, so shoot me a message on Twitter (@rachel.madden11), Instagram (@rachel_madden99), or Facebook, or leave a response to this piece. I’m excited to connect with you!