It finally feels like the world is settling a bit this week. At least, for now. COVID-19 has overtaken the media (both news outlets and social) everywhere (at the time of writing). We’re now facing the reality that more people are catching the disease, isolation is being ordered states-wide, and we’re all left sorting through what this new world looks like. Some of us have lost income, if not our jobs completely. Some of us are working longer and longer hours, keeping stores stocked and getting supplies to those who need them. Some of us are working the hardest hours of our careers, facing the fear of the virus while caring for the sickest among us. Such a new world in such a short time.
It seems like every headline is so bleak and fear is rampant. So, where do we find hope? What truth can we cling to right now in the midst of such uncertainty? For me, it’s where I’ve always found hope and solace: the truth of God’s Word. I’ve been reading The Message version of the Bible for the past couple of weeks (it’s been easier for me to dive into lately – try it if you’re feeling stuck!). I love how Eugene Peterson interpreted Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11-13:
Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
I’m learning during this time of isolation that contentment is not something I have naturally. It’s a constant choice. Do I wallow in the anxiety of our situation right now? Do I get mad and shake my fist at the sky because people are being people and not following the rules? Do I dive deep into despair because I’m stuck and I didn’t choose this? Why me? Or do I choose to set that feeling aside and remember hope instead? Sometimes, I honestly do both. And God is big enough to handle that. He can handle my anxiety and frustration. His shoulders are also wide enough to carry your fear and your pain. I try to remind myself that wherever I am and whatever I have, I can make it through with Jesus.
How simple. That seems like such a “Sunday School” answer, but it really is the truth. If I have my hope in Jesus rather than in the stock market, I will be more content. If I have my hope in Jesus rather than the availability of stuff to meet all my needs, I will be more content. If I put my hope in Jesus and set my mind on Him instead of Facebook, I will be more content. If I put my hope in Jesus, knowing that He is the Author and Perfecter of my faith, I will be more content (Hebrews 12:2).
If you’re wrestling with contentment and feeling like you’ve reached your last hope, reach out. I’m just a comment box away. Take care of yourself and those around you. We’ll get through this and be stronger on the other side.