It was nice to have something to look forward to when I woke up. After 43 days of being sick you start to feel like Phil Connor’s living through Groundhog Day. It was Thursday and my friend Sandy and I were meeting for lunch. I’ve had to cancel so many times on folks in the last 6 weeks that it’s been a tad lonely. I’d warned her I wasn’t 100% but she was brave enough to risk it. We chose a place where my contact with anyone else would be limited.
I was a little nervous though. Cold and flu season is always a crapshoot for me, like it is for anyone with a chronic health condition. The coronavirus just intensifies the fear. Earlier in the week I’d been told I couldn’t travel. Definitely a bummer when I was set to visit my Dad for his birthday in Seattle at the end of the month. “You can’t even go to Rifle let alone the epicenter,” the doctor said. These are hard things to hear when you’re already anxious.
Seeing Sandy’s smiling face was like wrapping a blanket around my heart. When she pulled sanitizing wipes out of her bag to wipe down our table, I thought a girl like me really couldn’t have a better friend. When we picked up our food at the counter it smelled so good. Thank you Lord, for feeling normal-ish even if for just an hour.
When we turned to go to our table at the toe of my shoe was a dime. NO-O-O-O Lord, I thought. You want me to take my perfectly sanitized hand and pick that up. No, no, no, no my brain screams until I see Sandy’s smile and admit I have to. In 13 years of penny finding I’ve taken some crazy leaps of faith to reach a coin God’s had for me, I just can’t stop now. I picked it up and re-sanitized.
Later that evening all the joy of my little outing had faded away. Clearly, I’d maxed out whatever reserve of energy I had. My iritis flared, my head hurt, my voice got raspy and the sniffles just came with a vengeance. I laid down on the couch angry with myself for thinking I’d even been up to lunch. The fatigue of 43 days washed over me like a tidal wave of discouragement.
When I finally decided to get up, the lunch dime resurfaced when it fell out of my pocket. I stared at it for a minute and suddenly a new wave washed over me, but this one felt surprisingly like sunshine. Get a grip it said. You know better than this. How you feel is overriding what you know. Just because you’re sick and scared doesn’t mean God has changed. God is still God and if you would take a minute and think it through God has an amazing track record in your life. From the day you were born a little preemie baby, to the day you came close to death post-op, to the day you found out your kids were autistic, to NOW—if you would pause to remember God has always shown you His ability to provide whatever you need.
The comfort this reminder brought took me back to the beginning of the day when I woke up optimistic, before all the “feels” of the day set-in. Between coughs, sneezes, and a throbbing head one can quickly loose all perspective and I know I’m not the only one. Fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and uncertainty shatter most people’s confidence. The feels take over and for a variety of reasons that seem legit we embrace them. Isn’t this why toilet paper is flying off the shelves at the grocery store but the oranges and other immune boosting fruits and veggies aren’t? We’re all scared and some of us are sick on top of that.
But some of us are also people of faith and this begs the question during uncertain times are we going to simply believe God exists or are we going to believe God is fully present in our circumstances. The difference between these competing thoughts is profound. To acknowledge God is fully present means He is trustworthy and will meet our needs. It might not look like we hope it will—but it will be what we need. It will be enough. Fear is a feeling that fluctuates like the temperature—but confidence is a mindset you can choose. I know firsthand how hard it can be to make that choice, but in uncertain times do you have a better option?
“Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God and I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous hand.” – Isaiah 41:10