Two nights ago, I broke out with hives unexpectedly. I examined my diet, asking myself: “What did I have for dinner?” Nothing new or unusual. It was after a shower. No new products. “Where did this come from and why?” Puzzled, I’m still not sure.
Like the unexplainable hives, COVID-19 is puzzling, leaving most of us wondering where this came from. Sure. We know where; we know why; we know how; we know all the symptoms, yet we’re still in the unknown. And, this awakens in the soul eternal realities. Often, we’re too distracted to hear or discern the whisper of the Holy Spirit. We suppress the Word of God with more “important” things.
This global pandemic is an awakening of our fear – our fear is stirring, waking-up from slumber.
The Bible tells us that our actions are an expression of our hearts (Matthew 15:18). Our job, our spouse, the traffic jam, or even the unknown future on the other side of COVID-19 reveals the deep, hidden thoughts of our soul. It’s like taking a long hard look in the mirror and realizing that no amount of concealer can hide the shadow side of our soul (Jeremiah 17:9; James 1:22-25). It needs something else. Our soul needs a transformation. It needs newness of life (Romans 6:4). Our awakened fear needs Someone outside of ourselves to rescue us from our now-realized state of helplessness.
My heart is prone to fear, worry, anxiety, and the drive to solve every problem. But with every “solved” problem, two more problems emerge. My lack of faith and my tendency to fear is exposed. The Holy Spirit convicts me and lead my heart to repentance. I admit it. I struggle with unbelief. Like the father in Mark 9:25, I, too, cry, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Our spiritual grandparents
In these uncertain times, I am greatly comforted in knowing that I have spiritual grandparents who battled their own fear, anxiety, and depression. One poet and hymn-writer, William Cowper, dealt with severe depression from his childhood into his adult life. He attempted suicide on multiple occasions. And God, graciously and mercifully spared his life, to which I am grateful. One hymn he wrote brings me great comfort and stills my anxious soul: God Moves in a Mysterious Way.
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessing on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purpose will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
There is a temptation to believe that every hardship, every unknown, every virus, and every nightmare is somehow outside of the sovereign will of God. When dark, dreaded clouds form, as they most certainly will, find comfort in knowing that God is moving in mysterious ways. One day, He will make it plain.
Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded and even commanded again and again not to fear. So, once again, like David, we will say to our souls, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You,” (Psalm 56:3).