Should I Be Worried?

I’ve spent entirely too much time on social media and news sites in the last few days. Like a bystander who just can’t seem to avert her eyes from the scene of a collision, I just keep going back for another glimpse at “Coronavirus versus the World as I Once Knew It.” I can sympathize, at least in part, with many of the viewpoints that are monopolizing my newsfeed:

• Those who show great concern for the well-being of the most vulnerable among us

• And … those who think fear is being unnecessarily spread by the media

• Those in leadership who are tasked with making decisions that will affect others (and who bear the weight of public opinion, no matter what they decide)

• And … those who, in response to decisions made by others, must figure out how to re-arrange to make life work

• Those who buy hand sanitizer, and non-perishables, and toilet paper, because everything seems out of control, and storing up supplies is one thing they can actually do

• And … those who fear that supermarket aisles will be empty when they need to buy formula for a baby or essentials for an elderly parent

• Those who worry that the virus will spread rapidly if events do not shut down and people do not stay home

• And … those who worry about the economy and the financial well-being of people whose jobs depend on society functioning as normally as possible

I sympathize with all of us, who are being inundated with an overwhelming stream of information that is difficult to sort through.

While scrolling through Facebook, where every other post on my feed references coronavirus, I noticed a question posted to a page that is tailored to moms of young children. The mama asked,

“Should I be worried?”

I’ve phrased the same thought in various ways over the last few days. Asking those who’ve lived longer than my 33 years, “Do you remember anything like this happening before?” Asking myself–as if to make sure I’m not going crazy–“Is this really happening?”

The question that comes to mind the most often–the one that has me reverting to Facebook and online news too often for my own good:

“What is going to happen?”

It bubbles to the surface of my heart less like a question and more like a foregone conclusion:

“I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Honestly, these words have felt like the theme of my life lately–long before coronavirus.

Because Olivia just turned eight years old, and genetic disease means her life looks nothing like anything I ever pictured.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

And I feel like I’m living it all over again. Her baby brother, my little AJ, is scheduled for an MRI soon.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

Our sweet seventeen year old is trying to be a teenager while carrying burdens not meant for her young shoulders. I am only a foster mom, and it isn’t in my power to cast off the weight.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

The little girls have been with us for almost a year. They might be with us longer, for forever even. Then again, we may have to say goodbye soon.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

This season of my life is requiring things I never thought would be asked of me. At times I feel so very weak. Roles that I used to fill with ease and grace feel cumbersome and clumsy.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

I’m beginning to discover something about that statement. Though probably born out of fear, if offered to Jesus, this very same sentence can be an expression of humble faith. It is the realization that I can never perceive enough, prepare enough, or be enough.

I simply do not know what is going to happen.

And while, yes, that can be a very scary place to be, it brings an unexpected freedom too. An unloading of everything that I am not at the feet of Jesus, who longs to be my all in all. Like curling up under a shade tree after trudging through the desert for far too long.

I do not know what is going to happen, but there is One who does.

No amount of planning and preparation on my part can guarantee an outcome, but the God who clothes fields of flowers and provides food for the smallest of sparrows cares deeply for me and mine.

In and of myself, I have very little power to slow the tide of disease or even retain my sanity through an indefinite quarantine with five children, should that be required. But I serve an Almighty God who holds the hearts of kings in His hands. He is my Healer, my Provider, my Protector, my Teacher, and my Friend. He “rescues the weak and needy (Psalm 82:4).” He hears my prayer, and though I do not always know when or where or how, He answers.

I rarely have dreams that I can remember once awake. I’ve only ever had a few that I thought actually meant something. Yet, night before last, I dreamed something important.

I was moving–almost being pushed through–a long house with lots of rooms. Each room was over-crowded with people pressing in on each other. Everyone was talking at once so that I could hardly distinguish a thing that was being said. Finally, I got to what I knew to be the final room. I opened the door to utter silence. Fewer people were in this room, and each was kneeling in prayer or had hands raised in worship. The contrast between the former rooms and the last was so stark that it brought tears to my eyes.

The dream reminded me that while there is a lot I don’t know (especially with regard to coronavirus), there are a few things that Jesus has made me certain of:

There is wisdom in informing ourselves and taking precautions based on the advice of knowledgable authorities. But we can’t expect this to bring us real peace. Peace that comes through what I can do is both limited and temporary. Peace that transcends circumstance comes from walking in step with the Prince of Peace. His name is Jesus.

There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by pressing through the chaos and noise to find a quiet place at the feet of Jesus. We will find Him to be a Good Shepherd (the best of guides), always willing to lead us beside still waters.

Often, Jesus teaches us to overflow with peace by turning our focus away from ourselves and outward to the needs of others. In serving my neighbor or a stranger, the churning of my own heart is calmed.

So, center your heart in the peace Jesus offers, and I will too. Let’s do it now, before voices of fear drive us to panic or thoughts of self-preservation cause us to forget the needs of others.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”–Matthew 6:25‭-‬33 NLT

These words, so tenderly and powerfully spoken by Jesus, give me the strength to prioritize His voice over the pull of my Facebook feed and Amazon shopping cart.

Should you be worried? Should I? No. Our Heavenly Father knows all of our needs. He will certainly care for us.

4 thoughts on “Should I Be Worried?

  1. Amen & Amen. Thank you for sharing that powerful dream! What a vision of hope & peace it ushers in. Your family is in our prayers!

    Like

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