As the map in The New York Times fills with red, I’ve been sorta blue. Thanks, COVID-19.
Church, writers’ events, community gatherings — all canceled. COVID-19 corresponded with a natural bout of homesickness that grew more pronounced as family visits were postponed and my world quieted. The situation isn’t all bad, though. It has reset my thinking, given me a chance to re-evaluate our world and the part we humans play in it. Here are a few things I’ve realized:
— Busyness is not as necessary as I thought it was. The parties, the conferences, the visits — I am surviving just fine without all of that. Ivan and I have been enjoying some quality time together we wouldn’t have had otherwise. My mind has slowed from its swirl, relaxed a bit. And I am beginning to wonder just how necessary all that busyness is. Connections with church and family are important, of course. But how much of it? What about events and conferences and socializing with friends and Christian ministry? How much is too much?
Another way of asking this is: How important am I? I tend to feel that if I don’t participate in the world, if I don’t add my two bits to society, both myself and those around me will be missing something valuable. But is that a conceited way to view my participation? Perhaps just as many helpful words will be spoken, just as many people encouraged, just as many souls won for Jesus if I stay home more often. I’ve begun to think so, now that I am practicing it.
— God’s acts are more powerful than anything humanity can achieve. And by God’s acts I do not mean to say God manufactured this virus for our punishment. Only that God controls the natural world and can choose to allow or not allow what happens in it. And it turns out the natural world is way more powerful than the best or the worst that humans can enact.
Think about it. For years, we’ve feared terrorists and war and mass shootings and nuclear blasts. But the one thing that brought the whole world to its knees was a disease. Perhaps people had a role in creating the disease by creating the proper conditions. But the actions of the disease itself, the way it spread from person to person, the way it skipped over countries like a calf jumping hillocks — all of those natural processes are out of our puny human control. We can only contain as best we know how. The protections we’ve put in place aren’t much protection at all.
— The world is smaller than it used to be. In the 1300s, the Bubonic Plague traveled in a fleet of “death ships” from Asia to Europe, where it killed a third of the population. Still, huge swathes of the world remained untouched. Today, almost every country is affected. The whole world is riveted by a single circumstance.
— God still reigns. We do well to take measures to contain COVID-19. But never should our thoughts be ruled by worry or anxiety. We as Christians have placed our futures in the control of our miracle-working, storm-stilling Creator and have no need to fear. Let’s bring our worried neighbors and friends a glimpse of God’s peace. In any situation, under any circumstance, our Savior reigns.
When Lucinda J. Kinsinger married Ivan in 2019, she moved from her Wisconsin home to live with him in Oakland, Md. She is the author of Anything But Simple: My Life as a Mennonite and blogs at lucindajmiller.com.