A Conversation with My Soul During the Pandemic

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God (Psalm 42:5).

Well, soul, here we are again. Another day in this strange time in history.

No, I do not think it’s crazy to be talking to you. The fact is, you need a good talking to, especially during days like today. Days when everything will be much the same as it was yesterday. Days when things are running together. Days when there is so much uncertainty. No, it’s not crazy at all.

I thought you might say that, and you’re right. There are a lot of things vying for our attention today. Matters of work, family, finances, and just keeping up with the news. But contrary to what you think, this is not actually a waste of time. Rather, I choose to believe that actions like this are actions of faith and discipleship.

Why is this an action of faith? Surely you know – faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. In other words, faith is about choosing to believe that which is contrary to your senses. And in this case, the “sense” is what we feel every day. We both know what we’re feeling – we are tending to feel anxiety. Or lethargy. Or boredom. So it’s very important that we not let our feelings take the lead.

No, it’s not lying to yourself. Nor is it just trying to talk yourself into being happy for no reason. Talking to you is about stating what God has said to be true. It’s about choosing to believe in a higher authority than what we feel. It’s making the conscious choice to bring all we can – including our feelings – under the lordship of Jesus.

You’re right about that – there is plenty to be pessimistic about. But apart from the circumstances of the world, there are things we know to be true, not because we feel them, but because God has said them. And chief among these is the fact that no matter what else happens, God loves us. We know He does not because we feel it all the time, but because He proved His love at the cross of Jesus. That means, soul, that we must interpret everything that happens – be it good or bad feeling in the moment – through the lens of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

I actually don’t think that helps explain the “why” of this pandemic. In fact, it’s more the opposite – it frees us from feeling the compulsion to have to explain why it is happening. It instead empowers us to make decisions in real time, for the sake of real people, rather than endlessly speculating the “why.” Rather than spending our time on that issue, we can take the love of God as a baseline and then actually give ourselves away for the sake of others.

Of course not. Of course it doesn’t make you stop feeling sad or anxious or lonely or confused. But it does keep you from being paralyzed by those feelings. It helps you continue to put one foot in front of the other. To persevere. To keep going. To have courage. And that’s really what we need right now – it’s not to have all the answers; it’s to keep going one step at a time.

Well, tomorrow will be tomorrow. I’m sure when we wake up then, I’m going to need to have a similar conversation with you. In case you haven’t noticed, we are slow learners, aren’t we? But the good news is that God plays the long game with us. He is using all things – even this – to not only bring us somewhere, but to make us someone. And aren’t you glad that God finish what He starts? That He’s not going to leave us half-baked?

Yes, I long for that day too. I confess that many times I think about heaven and being with Jesus in terms of things like freedom from pain and hardship and anxiety. But you’re right – someday, when God’s work is finished in and through us, we will actually feel the right thing. But until then, the best we can do together is to know how we ought to feel, and then act in faith even when we don’t. But someday, soul – someday – our actions will be fully aligned with our feelings. We will be completely new, inside and out. But we aren’t there yet. So we just keep going.

I am too. I’m sure we’ll talk again soon. But until then, it’s time to get up and trust. Trust, trust, trust. And then we will do it again tomorrow.

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