There is no doubt about it anymore – we live in a time that will be remembered in history books. It’s the kind of time the world will never forget.
In 10 or 20 years, we will talk about this pandemic just like we continue to talk about the infamous September 11 attacks. I was in 8th grade and I vividly remember talking about what happened with a friend as we walked back to school after lunch break. I remember that my 14 year old mind could not really understand the gravity of what happened that day.
Fast forward to early March 2020. I was on a business trip when the world seemed to fall apart. Governments started to impose quarantines and curfews; stock prices were dropping; meetings with more than 10 people became practically illegal; professional sports suspended their leagues one after the other; and in a matter of five days, gloves and masks were the trendiest accessories you would wear on the street or at the grocery store.
A couple of weeks prior to that, my wife and I were in California for a couple of days to recharge and get a little bit of sun to make sure we would have enough energy to finish the winter strong. Little did we know that we were going to need all this energy to face one of the biggest international crises the world has seen.
Ultimately, like millions of Canadians, I was laid off. And suddenly, this virus I couldn’t even see began to change everything for me. A virus that affected no one I knew started to rock my world. Even as an optimist, it is hard to look at a situation like this and be positive and believe good things will come out of this crisis.
In time like this, James 1:2-4 makes so much sense:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.“
Theses verses are, for me, a sure source of comfort and encouragement. Covid-19 is giving me an occasion to learn to live by faith and not by sight of what I thought was safe and secure. James talks about the “testing of our faith” and this is exactly what many of us are experiencing right now. I do feel like my faith is on trial right now yet I have to decide to live in joy and peace. You see, we have a choice to make here. Am I going to choose to live my faith by hype and let it be influenced by external circumstances? Or am I going to choose to deepen my roots in the Word of God and in the Spirit?
Like everyone, I wish to become wiser, more mature, or complete, to use the words of James. To get there we have to face hardships and trials. What would happen if we, as disciples of Jesus, decided to use this time of quarantine as a school of formation for God to change us and teach us more about Him? James is right, perseverance is the key to Christ likeness.
Psalm 73 has also been a real source of comfort and encouragement. It is a chapter written by a worship leader struggling with envy. In this prayer he mentions that he envies the successes of those who live far from God. In the presence of God though he receives a revelation:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And Earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.“
– Psalm 73: 25-26
Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever get my job back. I don’t know if things will go back to normal. I like to think so, but really; what do I know? In the light of what is happening now I am convinced that perspectives shift only when you get into the presence of God and surrender to Him your fear. Jesus did this himself in the garden (on the mount of Olives) just moments before being he arrested. This could be a whole other blog post though!
Stay safe church!
– DM Thibeault