Digesting the Quarantine or Making Sense of the Quarantine – for me
December 27, 2020 Carol Brennan King
Every year I start a new Bible study journal, a place to jot down what the Bible passages I am reading bring to mind or what I am learning or want to learn.
I found a new journal for this year under the Christmas tree. (Of course, I may have left a track to it on Amazon) After I wrote in the dates for each page, I thought I ought to look at the journal I have used for this year to see if there was something to rethink or share. The journal I started with last year didn’t have enough pages to do the whole year, so I started with a new on August 18th. So when I flipped the book I am using right now, it started at August 18.
I was reading through Job at the time, and though I wrote this five months ago, it still is relevant, to me anyway. Let me know what you think, if you want to.
Job was forced to conclude after a lot of suffering that the simplistic notion that all suffering comes from sin, and all righteousness is rewarded immediately was wrong. God understands its way (I think I was referring to suffering here), and He knows its place.
That’s why I have trouble praying that God would end the pandemic and end the political mess. God has a purpose for all of it – maybe there is even a blessing in it. We, who know Him can find hope in the knowledge that God loves us and will work it all out for His glory. (Romans 8) And who are we to tell him how or what to do anyway? That doesn’t mean we should not be praying or asking for Him to work.
Anyway, I long for God to be glorified in all of this chaos, but I think that can only happen if we honestly and fully trust Him, no matter what. Perhaps some of what He is doing, in the bigger picture) might be related to us. But even if His greater target for what is happening could be someone else, there is much that can be accomplished in my – in our – life on the way through the challenges.
Our trust and faith can only grow if and when they, and we, are tested. (Like our body and exercise, the more exercise we do, to a point, the stronger our muscles grow.) And that growth depends also on whether, in the testing, we show that we believe what we say we believe, no matter how much it hurts or seems improbable that it will end in something good. Those who do not believe, who do not have a relationship with God, will only believe the truth if we show them the way, with love, and just now, some might say that love is scarce these days.
I can see that those words might be confusing if you were not in my head. But the point I wanted to make was this: we show our faith by the way we respond to challenges. It’s like in my writing classes. I tell the students to show how the character is feeling. I tell the students not to say the character was angry. Show them being angry. If the character throws his hat across the room, we can assume pretty safely that he is not a happy camper.
In a very similar way, if we say we are a Christ-follower or believer or even a Christian, but we complain and moan and perhaps curse the way life might be going right now, we are not showing that we are truly following Christ. We are not believing that God loves us (start at John 3:16), or that He can be trusted to do well by us (Romans 8:26-31).
So, how do I manage the loss of loved ones, the long physical struggles of people I care about, during this age of Covid? I mourn. I might weep. I might ask God why, not because He has to make sense to me, but so I can make sense of this time, this new way to be. I can do those things because other believers, people who lived during Bible times and whose journeys are written about in the Bible. Even Christ wept.
And I pray that God will help me to remember that He loves me and knows way better than I do what I need to continue to grow spiritually. I don’t know what the new year will bring, but I pray that God finds me faithful and that I remember to make things right with Him when I fail.