Am I the only one who feels they have been on an emotional roller coaster the past 7 days or so? Under normal circumstances I can tend to fluctuate some, but this week has been way more severe. My faith in God has remained strong. And I would say that I have the peace of God. It’s just been an overwhelming time where the fight to think correctly has been on steroids.
Just yesterday I had enjoyed being creative and felt optimistic about life. Then I woke up today and faced the responsibility of acquiring more food for my family of six. For a couple years now, I have gladly used Walmart pickup for grocery shopping. However, since the current demand is too high, this time I had to enter the place I normally avoid even on a good day. Additionally, I wondered what germs I might be exposed to. Next, I wondered what I could even find to buy. During my last outing, Walmart’s inventory had been almost completely devoured and I had to adapt on the spot. I normally plan out my week’s menu, make a list, and then buy those specific items, so flexibility in shopping isn’t my forte. I assumed it was still pointless to plan, so I showed up with a very small list and a big prayer to God to help me figure the menu out.
After reluctantly picking a germ-infested cart, I patiently waited behind two other shoppers to have my turn to grab a disinfectant wipe and attempt to remove any COVID-19. Once fully in the germ field and mingling with way more than the allotted 10 people at a group gathering, I uncomfortably noticed a number of people wearing masks and/or plastic gloves. Being a somewhat self-conscious person, I was amazed at how these people so confidently walked around. So, this is our new normal. I hated it.
Though many things were still unavailable, the inventory overall was much better this time. Thankfully, God helped me easily plan a menu right there in the store. As I headed to the checkout, I met another unsettling sight: the long line for self-checkout. Though perhaps that was a safer choice, I opted for a cashier to assist me with my overflowing cart. By the time I was finished in line, a number of people were behind me. So many other full carts. So many somber faces. I felt like we were all trying to process our new, very unexpected circumstances.
I left the store very grateful I had food for another week to feed my family. But, overall, I just felt sad today. I was dealing with grief. Grief over piano lessons now moving to online. Grief over karate now being attempted through zoom. Grief over the fact we can’t all just go mingle at Walmart and feel safe. Grief over our mayor today ordering “the closure of restaurant dining rooms, including patios…the closure of all gyms, fitness centers/studios, movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and entertainment centers and other similar establishments” in our city. There is such a sadness in the air. An unknown. A concern.
This evening, God brought comfort and direction to me through the book of Job. If you aren’t familiar with all the sudden sufferings that Job dealt with in ancient times, I highly recommend you read the account of his life contained in Scripture. In Job 1:21b-22, Job says, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” Then when more hardship comes his way, Job says to his wife in Job 2:10b, “‘Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
God is giving us an opportunity to demonstrate if we will accept adversity from Him. Yes, there are many blessings that will come out of this trial and we can try to look on the bright side. But bottom line, COVID-19 is an adversity. National quarantine is an adversity. Will we accept it? Will we still believe God is good? Will we still trust Him? Will we still be thankful? Or are we only willing to accept good from our Creator? I pray we will be like Job and bring great honor to God during this unsettling time. He is worthy of our worship in every circumstance.