When I got home from the hospital with my husband at the end of February, I thought all the hard stuff was behind us – at least for a while. I was ready to kick up my feet and bask in the fact that the long slog was over.
It wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.
In my last blog post, I shared how 2019 was a tough year for me. At the time I wrote that I could look back and see all the ways God had shown up and provided and taken care of me and my family.
At the time, I wrote that post, I thought I had learned what God wanted to show me.
I was wrong again – sort of.
See, there were things God needed me to learn in that hard season so I could get through this season right now. When I was walking through last year, I had no idea that 2020 would see a global pandemic wash over the world like a tidal wave.
That’s the kind of thing that only happened in movies or those dystopian novels I sometimes enjoy reading.
But God knew.
And He works all things for our good.
The mistake I often make though is equating good with easy.
I’m not sure why I do this since most things that are good aren’t usually easy. I mean, most of the important things in my life weren’t a piece of cake.
Parenting? Good but hard.
Marriage? Good but hard.
Ministry? Good but hard.
Writing? Good but hard.
I’m not sure why I thought what God was doing for my good would be easy either.
Thankfully, God knew what I needed before I ever heard of COVID-19. Last year, He taught me three important things that are helping me walk through this season.
The first thing God taught me was that He provides and He doesn’t need my help to do it. This is a lesson He’s been trying to teach me for many years, but last year I finally got it.
Not only did my son get to go to the Christian college of his choice, but I still don’t really know where all the scholarships came from. None of the ways I thought God would provide ended up being how He did it.
Not only were we sending a kid to college, but we had a mountain of medical bills. God miraculously provided the funds for the bills we already had, and the ones I didn’t even know were coming. Again, He did it in a way I didn’t see coming. AT ALL!
The second thing God taught me was that He is at work behind the scenes before I even know there IS a need. This has a lot to do with thinking I am in control when I never really am. When I was really little, my grandpa used to let me sit on his lap and “steer” the car. (No hate mail – this was in the 70s and people didn’t even wear seat belts, nevermind kids in car seats after babyhood). I thought I was in control, but of course, I wasn’t. Thinking I’m in control now is kind of like that. I might have my hands on the wheel, but His hands are really steering the car.
Third, God taught me that death isn’t something to be feared. When I found out about my heart condition last summer, there was a very real possibility that I had a very limited life span (as in a 5-year plan would be a waste of time for me, kind of life span).
This made me take a hard look at what I truly believed about heaven and where I would spend eternity. Did I really believe that I was going to a better place or were those just words?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m hoping to die anytime soon, and I am thankful for a good prognosis and a more normal lifespan. There are still plenty of things I’d like to do in this life, but my perspective has changed. My grip on this earthly life has loosened.
I’d love to say I haven’t had a moment of worry or anxiety during this whole thing, but I would be lying. Sometimes, having a vivid imagination is not a blessing.
But what I can tell you is that if I hadn’t gone through the hard stuff last year, my fear and anxiety and general freak out would have been a daily, even hourly thing for me.
I certainly don’t want to act like any of this is easy, especially if you or a loved one has contracted the virus or works on the front lines in all this. But I do want to encourage you that God is working even a pandemic for your good – even if it doesn’t feel like it. Maybe especially if it doesn’t feel like it.