Is anyone else sick and tired of hearing the phrase “unprecedented times?” I’m becoming convinced that our use of the word “unprecedented” may actually be the most unprecedented development of the year, and that’s saying something! Or to put it another way: if you had “unprecedented times” on your “2020 Lingo Bingo” card, you’ve probably already won by now.
While 2020 has definitely given us plenty of ammunition for memes and jokes about how crazy life has become, there’s no doubt that it has also caused some serious stress and anxiety for a lot of people. Nurses and doctors, school teachers and administrators, those working from home, in factories, and those who have been laid off from their jobs... you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 and all the rest of 2020’s insanity in some way.
But I know this to be true as well: light shines the brightest in the midst of darkness. Psalm 5:11 speaks of a different response to enduring the challenges of 2020:
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
Let them ever sing for joy,
And spread your protection over them,
That those who love your name may exult in you.
For those who take refuge in Christ, there is reason to rejoice... even in the midst of a pandemic. And when we do, what a witness of God’s faithfulness that can be to others during a dark and scary time!
Ok, but wait. That all sounds nice, but even as followers of Christ, is it really possible for us rejoice at all times? Does that mean we are never allowed to feel stress, anxiety or fear?
It’s tempting to think that somehow never feeling anxious or afraid would make us better Christians. But that’s not how it works. The only thing that truly makes us better Christians is growing in our love for God as a response to His perfect love towards us. So, the question we should be asking is not, “How do I avoid fear?” A more appropriate question would be, “How should I respond when fear inevitably overcomes me?”
Feeling anxious or fearful should be among the very things that drive us to seek refuge in God! When we do, and when God is faithful to spread his protection over us, may we sing for joy and exult in Him. That is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented time.