When the second lockdown was announced in December, I felt the ground disappear under my feet. I was standing in the middle of a shop when I heard it, otherwise I would have burst into tears.
In the car on the way home the tears still came. Everything planned for the coming days passed through my mind. Christmas shopping, a 4-year-old son who was looking forward to his 5th birthday with treats at school and a (small) party, end-of-year events at my workplace… Although I was very good at putting things into perspective and telling myself that my life compared to the rest of the world still looked very good, I needed a few days to regroup and calm my emotions that had taken over.
Not worth it
How often we worry about small, earthly matters. And I say that very loudly to myself. I don’t want to make light of the lockdown and its consequences, because I know too many people for whom the consequences are particularly unpleasant. But the practical concerns I had about it really weren’t worth it.
Always full of joy
How beautiful it is when our focus changes. If, as the Bible teaches, we do not worry about earthly concerns, but above all obey Jesus’ command from Matthew 6; seek first the Kingdom of God. Because I believe that if that becomes our focus; that then the Lord can remain your joy and you can always be joyful, as Paul writes in the letter to the Philippians. Not that your circumstances will change (why would there be a command in the Bible not to worry if there were no reason to worry?). The glasses through which you look at it change and that makes a big difference.
You don’t have to be grateful for your circumstances. You can thank God despite your circumstances because He is your God, your Savior, your King. And because He is working on His restoration plan for this world, and the world we live in is not the end point. The prophet Habakkuk is a good example of this. He worried, complained and asked questions of God. The answer he received changed his view of the whole thing; God pointed him to His great plan and that ultimately caused Habakkuk to shout and shout for his Lord. The conditions were still the same, but the glasses had been replaced and that made all the difference.
During the corona crisis we often hear it said; the government must give us perspective. To a future where we can move freely again. And that’s true. We need prospects for a better future. How wonderful is the perspective that we as King’s children have! We are on our way to God’s dream for the world. To a future where His great plan will become fully visible. Where we may rule together with Him as kings over the earth (Revelation 22:4) as it was originally intended (Genesis 1:26). That is the perspective that all humanity needs.
When my emotions run wild like they did in December, I feel broken and like a drama queen. I realize that my ability to put things into perspective has little value if it is not the result of a sincere trust in God’s plan and His direction. It makes me long for the deep joy that is available. Then my prayer is; ‘Lord Jesus, in You I want to find all my joy. Like Habakkuk, I want to be able to sing despite my circumstances. Because I know that with You the future is certain and endlessly good. Help me, Lord, to see through Your eyes, to remember that Your plan is certain, and to always seek Your Kingdom. Amen.’
Do not be anxious about anything, but ask God for what you need and thank him in all your prayers. Then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).