I’m one of the fortunate ones.
My life has changed little since we began practicing “social distancing,” as I already worked from home and no children or students live in my house. Everything’s cancelled except dirty laundry. I haven’t missed my few regularly scheduled activities because staying home is my favorite thing in the world anyway. I had nothing on my calendar which, when cancelled, would have left me disappointed. I’ve been writing more, reading more, praying more, and working on my quilt project more. If all that’s not enough, there’s always my neglected piano. Or my neglected hubby. If he has his way, I’ll also be baking more. I’m not that desperate yet.
It’s surreal, isn’t it? Even though little has changed for me so far, the drop in traffic on my usually busy street, the nightly news, the online reports all seem hard to believe. No one knows what will happen, but everyone wonders. We’re all afraid. That’s normal and understandable.
In my church’s online service, one of our pastors shared his favorite C.S. Lewis story and it couldn’t be more appropriate for this time in which we find ourselves. Lewis painted such brilliant word pictures, didn’t he? (This one is called “Faith in the Face of Peril” and comes from the Collected Letters of CS Lewis, Vol 3, 448.)
Two travelers came to a rickety bridge over a deep, rocky ravine. The first man thought about the goodness of God and convinced himself the bridge would hold till they had crossed over safely. He called this assurance Faith.
The second man looked at the bridge and thought to himself, It might hold and it might not. But whether my life ends today or at some other time, whether here or somewhere else, I am always in God’s hands.
The two men started across. The bridge gave way and neither man survived. The first man’s faith was unfulfilled; the second man’s faith held firm.
I love this story because it forces me to ask, Where am I placing my faith? In our health care system? Science? Government? All of those are doing everything in their power to bring a swift end to this pandemic, to minimize loss, and to ensure we will be able to continue keeping ourselves fed and sheltered. They need and deserve our prayers. Indeed, all of us want to do our part. Will it be enough? Will the bridge hold?
Placing your faith in those things may or may not find fulfillment. But nothing can shake a faith in a good God who holds you in his hands, no matter what. I love the old hymn that says, “On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
Covid-19 has resurrected the original meaning of the phrase “going viral.” Let’s make faith as contagious as the corona virus. In a time when you’re inundated with mixed messages, with words from people who have no clue what our future holds, focus on what will never change. Instead of amplifying your fears, speak what you know to be true. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1 & 2)
There’s that word “though” again. When I picked it for my 2020 word, I had no idea what lay ahead for our planet. Then again, we never do. But we know who is ultimately in charge. We know he can be trusted. And we know he hasn’t cancelled a thing.