God Made Us To Be Strong

Author Ellen Glasgow said, “What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”

What’s happening now is strange and scary. It feels like we fell asleep in one world and woke up in another – one that is straight out of a science fiction book cut.

Within a few months, over 100,000 people have died from COVID-19, leaving their loved ones behind to grieve. The world has closed up shop. Many people have lost their jobs and their life savings. Important events such as weddings, long awaited trips and graduation ceremonies have been canceled, moved, or put on hold indefinitely.

High school seniors are probably tired of hearing, “Your grandfather was called to war and you are being called to sit on the couch. You can handle this.” And all kids are tired of being told “You’re lucky. In MY day, we didn’t have Netflix or FaceTime!” All of this is true, but it doesn’t take away the disappointment of a canceled Little League season or senior prom.

But like in other times of great suffering, such as The Great Depression and 9/11, people are rising to the occasion and demonstrating amazing resilience in the face of tragedy. Unthinkably devastating times tend to bring out the best in people. Look around.

In the midst of a pandemic, overwhelmed healthcare workers don’t hesitate to spend countless hours aiding sick, contagious people and members of the community don’t hesitate to deliver food to hospital staff or handmake protective masks. Children send their notes and drawings to people in nursing homes and people bring food, medicine, and household supplies to strangers who can’t, or shouldn’t, get them on their own.

New businesses and jobs will come in time and from necessity. And as in the past, hardship will act as a catalyst to creativity, and the world will gain insightful works of art in many forms.

Medical researchers are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine or discover the most effective treatment for COVID-19, while government employees look for innovative ways to restart life.  Their work will help us reach our “new normal” and prepare us for the next crisis.

The point is – during this current crisis, people are reacting with strength, care, and resilience. We are calm and patient, using coping skills, prayer, and connecting with others when and where possible.

A few months ago, many of us would have answered “absolutely not” when asked if they could run a household, maintain (or have) a paying job, and educate their children simultaneously and without leaving home. But we underestimated ourselves – because that is exactly what we are doing.

Isaiah 41:10 says:

So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

If there was ever a time to lean on God and faith to react as our best self, now is that time. And while the past can’t be erased, it will give us the gift of even greater confidence that with Jesus walking beside us, we can take on more than we ever thought possible – and even thrive – in times of great challenge.