Oh, God...do I have a symptom?
Someone MY AGE just got the virus. Could it be that I'm next?
Have I always gotten migraines like this?
I don't remember feeling this exhausted before...
Is it just me imagining things or is my throat getting a little scratchy?
Um, what!? They closed my job!
Restaurants too!? The NBA!?!
Oh no! Tom Hanks has it?!
Now Idris Elba?
NOT KEVIN DURANT!!!
And on and on your thoughts have gone the first few months of 2020.
The Coronavirus has been the New Year's biggest bully.
And, for those of you who struggle deeply with anxiety, this has been your worst nightmare. It's a bad sci-fi movie come to life, a terror no one ever predicted. And, it's hard to stay hopeful when reality sets in about the lives being lost, workers being laid off, graduates feeling disappointed, and some students having nowhere to go...
...especially for me.
You want to know why?
I thought the virus would be forgotten by now.
It's true! I thought that if we gave it a few more weeks, the virus would be a thing of the past! We'd put it to rest with the Ebola scare, as well as E. Coli. If anything, "Why not be this intimidated by the flu?" were my thoughts.
...Which is why I rolled my eyes and shrugged my shoulders scrolling through news articles the first few weeks of the Corona chaos. I thought what I think about most news articles:
They are blowing this out of proportion.
...And, so yes I DID get excited about cheap flight tickets, seriously getting ready to fly out to somewhere fun! And, yes I DID say a prayer that gas prices can always stay this cheap! And, ABSOLUTELY I thought that "stocking up" wasn't necessary. And, no I DIDN'T think that what I once thought was a bad attempt from the media to scare us would turn into an urgent call from leaders across the globe for citizens to go into lockdown.
And, that's when fear kicked in.
While it has always been a dream of mine to stay inside with nowhere to go—alone with my laptop, surrounded by my favorite snacks—it's a little discomforting to add in the fact that there's a virus creeping and crawling around, and the safest place to be is inside.
Now, staying in just makes me...uncomfortable!
So while I approached this entire pandemic carelessly, a bit irritated by those who I felt overreacted, I now want to write to those who are experiencing the same kind of anxiety I did at one point by first reminding you of this:
You are not alone.
The interesting thing about this global lockdown is that it's exactly that: GLOBAL. No one can say that this a 3rd world problem or just something those Americans are going through.
We are ALL in this thing together.
This is a crisis we're ALL experiencing, a giant we're ALL facing.
And, because it's very rare for the entire world to be impacted by the same situation, I believe we're ALL in this thing together for a reason.
Perhaps it's just me, but one thing that I have always found to be true is that there is power in a testimony. There's something about sharing your story with someone—how you were at your lowest point, but was brought to the mountaintop—that can change someone's perspective like nothing else.
But, you want to know another thing I've found?
Some people just...don't believe you!
Some will say you exaggerated, that you were only trying to make a point.
In other words, they'll never know the extent of your pain because they've never gone through what you went through themselves.
And, that's why I find it pretty significant that we are ALL going through this pandemic together. Because now?
None of us can say we didn't know how bad it got.
We ALL witnessed the effects of this virus firsthand from businesses shutting down, jobs being lost, the future unclear as we desperately scramble for answers.
And, because we ALL witnessed the horrendous effects of the virus, I believe we'll all witness the victory too.
I believe that together, at the end of it all, none of us will be able to deny that there is a God much bigger and more powerful than any sickness or disease could ever be.
Because, perhaps the reason why we're ALL seeing how bad it has gotten is so that we ALL can witness God turn it around for good.
I can write from experience when I say that it's in the midst of uncertainty, darkness, and trouble where God performs His greatest miracles. It's when I'm anxious when I realize that He is peace, and it's when I'm weak when He reveals to me that He is strong.
And, just how God has shown me time and time again that He is the light in my darkest hour, I believe that He wants to shine brightly in the midst of the Earth's darkness too.
But, until He does?
Let's take this opportunity to reach out and show love to those around the world.
Let this bring us together, realizing that we need one another, taking the opportunity to unite and share hope and faith.
Let this be a wake-up call to be grateful for the job you hate driving to in the morning, a reminder to be grateful to have a store to clean, boxes to lift, food to serve, a check to cash in.
Let this change your perspective on the education you may have taken for granted going back to school.
Let this be a time to appreciate the home you were able to go back to when your university closed.
Let this be a reminder that you are not alone.
Let this open your eyes to the fact that the only thing that can secure your hope, keeping it alive forever, is Jesus Christ. Everything can fade away in a moment. He is the only One who lasts forever.
And so while we will get through this and we will see a victory, perhaps this is our chance to find Him here with us until we do. Because though He'll be the light at the end of the tunnel, His presence is with us while we walk in the dark too.