We like to be in control—or, at least, to feel like we’re in control. The fact that I can control the temperature of my house from an app on my phone or adjust the position of my car seat with a button makes me feel good—like I’m in control.
Previous generations were much more familiar with not having control. They knew what it was to feast or famine based on the weather and crops. Many didn’t even have doctors in their towns; illness came often and could be fatal.
Enter COVID-19. Many of the things in our daily lives that made us feel like we were in control are now gone or have changed. Sure, we still have thermostats and microwaves, but things are different and many people are feeling disrupted from the stability of normal—from feeling like they have control.
Cracks in our illusion of control can be a good thing. A crisis opens our eyes to how much control we don’t have in the grand scheme of life. It lays bare our anxious desire for control in more ways than maybe we’d like to admit. And it leads to the question about where we can plant our feet when everything goes wonky and as we wander into a new version of our lives that will most certainly be less certain than we could have ever predicted.
Let me suggest three things we can do despite our current loss of control:
When we worship God we allow ourselves to be tethered to the trustworthy Rock, and fix our eyes and hearts on the one certainty in a world that isn’t. We are given spiritual food, guidance, perspective and help. Worship doesn’t make you feel more “in control.” But it reminds you that you’re in the care of the One who is.
Second, read the Bible and pray
When we read the Bible and pray on a daily basis, we are led forward in God’s light and friendship. Our knowledge is limited, but his wisdom is unmeasurable (Psalm 145:3).
When we engage in regular acts of care for those around us, we are doing something meaningful which glorifies God, even when we can’t see what’s around the corner.
Let’s be honest. We like to be in control—or, at least, to feel like we’re in control. But it’s important to remember that we never really had that much control in the first place. We may have had the illusion of control, but it was just that, an illusion.
COVID-19 has done a lot of harm. But God is in control even when we feel out of control. Jesus himself says that his words will never pass away even after heaven and earth are no more (Mark 13:31). There’s enduring comfort in that—and hope.
So perhaps a silver lining for all of us can be a brave letting go of our lust for control, a re-rooting in worship, the Bible and prayer, and love for neighbour, and, as a result, our feet more firmly planted for a brand new world.