As we navigate the ongoing effects of Coronavirus, I have often found myself asking, “What’s next?” Planning for life has been difficult. How do we prepare for the weeks ahead or know what we should prioritize? We have had and continue to encounter so many unknowns in what is referred to as our “new normal.” The uncertainty we face reminds me of a saying attributed to the great baseball-playing philosopher, Yogi Berra, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
One valuable lesson that the Lord is teaching in these COVID-controlled days is … I am not in control! I’m not sure when things will be back to “normal,” or how “normal” will be defined post-COVID. But really, isn’t that the lesson? In times like these, when we are defenseless against the twists and turns of life, we become painfully aware that believing we are in control is largely an illusion. We cannot control people, our circumstances, or what may or may or may not happen tomorrow … a fact which this global pandemic has made abundantly clear.
So, I’m learning that releasing control is a spiritual discipline … an act of biblical obedience. Here’s what James said to a group of believers who had completely lost control of their lives and routines … “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:13-15 (ESV).
James would have been well-versed in King Solomon’s written wisdom … “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1 (ESV). Likewise, in Luke, we see what happened to the farmer who thought he had the perfect plan to build bigger barns and live a long, relaxing life … he died that very night! God, with no concern whatsoever for this man’s feelings, called him a “fool”! Control.
Forward planning is a slippery slope. As Eugene Peterson paraphrased an often-quoted statement of wise counsel, let’s stop trying to figure everything out on our own and trust God to guide and direct our steps. Instead, let’s use this pandemic and season of political divisiveness to, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go, He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message).
Live for Jesus out there!