Ellie and I were ecstatic when we got the text in February.
Do you and Ellie want to go with us to Naples for a long weekend in March?
Uh … yes! After a long and busy season of ministry and parenting, we were thankful that God had provided a space for us to refresh and enjoy some warm weather. We were counting down the days that we would be alone — without kids, obligations or calendar commitments. Just some good friends, delicious food, and Florida sunshine.
By March 13, the day before we left, the world had changed drastically. What feel like staples of American society — NCAA basketball, the Masters, and the NBA — were being cancelled and uprooted day by day. Churches would not be gathering. After a lot of prayer and trusting that God had gone before us to secure this trip, we boarded our plane at Blue Grass Airport and landed in hot and humid Florida.
To be honest, it was hard to settle down. It was hard to fully rest, knowing that our world was in such turmoil. Restful moments were interrupted by task force news conferences and reports on toilet paper shortages. It was clear to us that this brief pause would be followed by a return to a world that was anything but normal. In fact, a world that was even a little scary.
As it always does, God’s Word interrupted the turmoil in my heart, whispering as a father gently whispers to a crying infant, “Hush.”
But the Lord is in His holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him (Habakkuk 2:20).
I wish that I could say I understand all that is going on in our world in this coronavirus pandemic. I have questions like, “Why?” and “Why now?” “What are we supposed to do?” “Is it okay to be afraid?”
I don’t have all the answers, but I’m learning to embrace the beautiful reality of following Jesus — the One who does. This Scripture in Habakkuk gives me all I need to know. The Lord is still in His holy Temple. He is still on the throne! Just because society and human activity have been radically altered does not mean that our God has lost control. He is still there, still all-powerful, all-loving, working all things together for our good and His glory.
Because God’s still in control, we can be silent before Him. We can trust Him. Each day can be full of heartfelt worship, devoted prayer, and sacrificial service to our neighbors and loved ones. The thing that drives me most crazy about coronavirus is how little everyone knows. At times, I feel as if I am developing whiplash, listening to all the different voices competing for attention in my head. But because we follow Jesus, the One who is still in control, we can be silent, even in the face of a vicious enemy like COVID-19. We can simply listen to His voice and follow where He leads.
As we descended through the clouds into Lexington on Sunday, March 15, we landed in darkness. I’ve never experienced such darkness before in my life. As we left the sun above the clouds and entered the cool, gray night in Lexington, it seemed as if everything had changed. Yet, we knew that the One we love and serve hadn’t changed at all. Because our God is unchanging, we can face tomorrow with faith, not fear.