This pandemic is a storm, and all of us are out on the open sea.
Some of us are in row boats, and we feel every wave that comes crashing against us. we are rowing as hard as we can towards the shore, drenched, exhausted, and worried we’ll sink before we ever get there. Some of us are in a catamaran, a little sturdier upon the choppy waters. Our boat is affected by the storm and we are uncomfortable with the swaying, but we are safe and healthy. Yet others of us are on a cruise ship. We are aware that there is a storm but we hardly feel its effects. We can stay inside, entertain ourselves, and eat from our buffet without dwelling on the storm unless we feel like walking out onto the deck and watching the smaller boats struggle against the wind and waves.
In which type of boat do you find yourself?
I freely admit my privilege – we’re sailing along on a cruise ship. I have had my low moments of anxiety and apathy, frustration and sadness, but I recognize how much we have to be grateful for. Most days, my biggest problem is two bored children (“I am not your cruise director, go find something to do!”)
The truth is that this global pandemic is affecting all of us in different ways according to factors like your job, your health, your socio-economic status, and your race. Those of us working on the front lines as doctors and nurses are experiencing this storm differently than the rest of us. Those of us in essential services like delivery workers and grocery store clerks put themselves at risk every day without adequate pay. Those of us who have lost jobs may feel like the boat is sinking. And the ugliest truth is that those who are losing their very lives are disproportionately black.
Though this pandemic has revealed the sad state of inequality in our country today, there is one truth that is the same for everyone, no matter which boat you find yourself in: Jesus is the God of the storm.
No matter how choppy the waters get and how hard the wind blows, God is still in charge, able to quiet the sea with a word, inviting us to step out onto the waters in complete faith in Him.
What would it look like to take our eyes off the shore and turn them to the One who’s been in our boat all along?Tweet
What would it look like to take our eyes off the shore and turn them to the One who’s been in our boat all along? Though the storm might continue to rage around us, we can pray for peace within as we focus our eyes on Him who is infinitely more powerful than the wind and the waves.
The God who sustains all created things with love sustains you. The God who created the world not to be exploited, dominated, or needed, but to love and to enjoy without clinging, is awake in your belly. And so in you is the capacity to love and to live without needing the world to work out a certain way in order for you to be okay. Your life, your existence, is contingent on that Spirit. But it is not contingent on anyone else, or anything else.Jonathan Martin, “How to Survive a Shipwreck”
I’ve been guilty of thinking that circumstances need to work out in a certain way for me to be okay:
If our state just reopens…
If the schools can go back to normal…
Once I can go back to work…
Once they find a vaccine…
It’s too easy for me to fall into believing that outside factors determine my inner well-being. In times like these, it’s helpful to remember what Jesus said about peace:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27
The context of John 14 is that Jesus is telling his disciples that once he’s gone, God will send his Holy Spirit to be with us forever. The same is true now, even if we don’t feel it. God is with us in the form of his Holy Spirit. God is right there in the boat with us. The end of the storm won’t save us, and landing on shore won’t bring us peace. Only He who calms the waves and the winds can calm our troubled hearts.
I pray that we would turn to God, in ways big and small, when we feel the storm rage around us, and that over and over He would flood us with His peace.
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