“When is this all going to end?”
“Can my business survive? Will I have to lay off my employees?”
“Is my mother going to be okay? She’s had a cough for several days.”
“Where will our next meal come from if I lose my job? What will I tell my kids?”
You and I are living in a season of uncertainty. Our days are marked by angst, confusion, and fear. Our hours are spent questioning what’s next. Our minutes are filled with worry. Unlike spring, summer, fall and winter, we do not know when this season of uncertainty will end.
If there is one thing we know, it’s that we don’t know. Our economy is at a standstill. Our new currency isn’t cash, it’s doubt. Our trading in anxiety isn’t boosting the stock market. We’re all slumping.
We ran to the stores and stocked up, yet it somehow doesn’t feel like enough. We look for some glimmer of hope at the next press conference, but we aren’t reassured. Social distancing means more social media, but let’s be real. Consuming more tweets and Instagram Stories does not bring peace to our souls.
Either we’re stuck at home or we’re considered “essential” and have to be out. Either way, we’re worried that someone or something will carry this infection into our lives. Not only that, we’re worried we’ll inadvertently carry it into theirs.
Amidst this uncertainty, here’s the question we are all asking:
Who will carry us some good news?
Who will infect us with some relief? Who will bring us some words of optimism? Who will be the carrier of hope? How can we find some assurance amidst the uncertainty?
During this pandemic, may I propose that we look for assurance in a man named Jesus?
For centuries now, people who follow Jesus have found assurance in uncertain times by looking to him.
Jesus told his earliest followers, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Jesus followers don’t ignore reality. They see the challenges we face. They too are scared for their family’s health and their next paycheck. They experience fear, doubt, and anxiety. Yet, they take those feelings to Jesus and he comforts them. He assures them.
Again and again in this last week, we have seen Christians proclaim, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Assurance from Jesus doesn’t mean our circumstances will change immediately. It doesn’t take away the reality that we or someone we love might get sick. When we look to Jesus, though, we can be assured that there is one who cares and will walk with us through whatever epidemic we face.
Assurance from Jesus means: God loves you. God is not mad at you. He will never leave you or forsake you. No matter what happens in your life — God is with you. He cares. He wants the best for you. He’ll be there to help pick up the pieces.
Speaking of Jesus’ love, the Bible reminds us: “Can anything ever separate us from Jesus’ love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus, who loved us.” (Romans 8:35–37)
Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, you and I can be assured that whatever we face, there is hope on the horizon!
And while the world is dealing in the currency of doubt, Jesus deals in the currency of hope.
In the last week, there have been countless stories of that hope. Townships all across New Jersey have organized to make sure the elderly have access to food and supplies. Local churches have partnered together to provide lunches to children who would otherwise go hungry. People have called their neighbors and mailed cards to old friends.
The small town that I live in raised $13,000 for local restaurants who are struggling to pay the bills and keep their employees.
My mom was supposed to move ten hours from her home to South Carolina this coming weekend. Amidst the uncertainty of travel restrictions, she decided to move a week earlier. Arriving at her new home late Saturday night, she realized most of the stores were closed. She called a nearby friend to ask if she knew of any businesses open. My mom’s friend made a call, and an hour later my mom was picking up a pot of Low-Country Boil, a cooked ham and sides. A local restaurant owner, and one of those followers of Jesus, just happened to be cooking a huge meal that evening. She opened up her home and kitchen, feeding hope to my mom in her time of need.
We don’t know what the next days will bring, but you will find the peace and hope you’ve been searching for in Jesus. Reach out to Jesus and I promise that he’ll carry some good news your way.
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” (James 4:8)