I had a plan for the summer of 2020. To prepare for my future, I was going to work at my job, have an internship at a lab, and volunteer at a hospital. By March, everything seemed to be going well and I had my opportunities lined up. By April, everything was canceled.
The coronavirus did not infect me but it did affect my plans. It is not just me. In some way, all of our lives seem to be “paused”. Many times during the busy seasons of life, I have wished for a pause button and the virus seems to have given me what I want. The only problem is that I am unable to find the “play” button no matter how hard I try. The remote of my life and of the world is out of all of our hands.
It is frightening to think that all of our hard work can be gone in an instant. So many people have lost their livelihoods. So many people have become sick and even died. So many people are suffering because of the social effects of these issues all around the world. All because of a virus that none of us can control.
Without the remote control, the future scares me. Before it seemed that if I worked hard enough that I could do well. Now it seems that even hard work may not be enough for me to have control over my life. Even money or fame or education cannot protect me or any of us. That is the biggest lesson that the coronavirus has taught me.
I am helpless. I do not have control.
Everyone I have talked with has expressed different things that they miss. From boba runs to visiting family, we no longer have the control to choose to do many of the activities that we enjoy. When we see this lack of control we do not know what to do.
These times reminded me of one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi loses everything and everyone she loves due to famines and sicknesses. Her helplessness makes her bitter and she even calls herself “Mara” which means bitter. As the story progresses, Naomi returns to her hometown with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and finds hope again. In Ruth 4:14, the women sing a song to Naomi. “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer.” [ESV]
Wow! Our God is a God who redeems. Even though Naomi left her hometown and lost everything, God used that to bring Ruth. Ruth was the mother of Obed, whose descendant would be Jesus, God’s own Son Himself who is used by God to redeem all of us!
God sees this year. He sees our pain. He sees what we have lost. He acknowledges our helplessness and calls us to Him. I don’t have to hold on to the remote anymore. I can rest in His arms as I surrender my illusion of power. I can be empowered by Him to find joy in these circumstances as Paul did even while he was in jail. In fact, he wrote in the Bible in Philippians 4:13 about finding joy in difficult circumstances. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [ESV]
We are helpless. Being presented by our helplessness should not leave us feeling hopeless. Instead, it should bring us to God where we can stop trying to have power but instead find God and His redeeming power. Our helplessness can be a blessing that leads us to God and to His hope. He has not left us without a redeemer but instead daily redeems every situation. We may not have the remote control that controls our lives and the situations surrounding us. But, God does.
I do not know what is going to happen. I do not know how these months are going to affect my future. I do not know if I can control anything anymore. However, I do know that God is redeeming everything in His time and in His way. So, in my helplessness, I can find hope.