Sometimes life takes a different path than we expect. Sometimes ya just gotta hold on tight and stay the course. Like a forest that takes a devastating fire to bring out its best in new growth, so we wend our way through difficulties in the midst of the crucible’s test. And, knowing in whom to put our faith and trust can make all the difference in the outcome.
Having been furloughed from work earlier this month, I can’t help but think that others who have lost their jobs or been furloughed may feel the same way. We’ve worked hard all these years to get where we’re at, and then something so unexpected like this coronavirus comes along and knocks the pins out from under us.
We’re hit from all sides with an overload of information and data. We are told what we can or cannot do, how to protect ourselves and others, and how to face the disappearance of certain staples from store shelves. Less income and increased outgo from higher prices adds to our stress. We fret over when that unemployment check will arrive to pay our bills, and how we’re going to survive a bleak horizon. We fear for our loved ones who become ill because so many have died around the world. Yet we also know that most people who become ill do recover (as has my elderly mother!).
I’ve even struggled with several issues and decisions since being furloughed. Like others, I’ve felt a range of emotions from sadness, to feeling lost without the familiar daily routine, to realizing okay, God is still in control and this will all work out somehow. Sometimes it seems life goes along just fine until a disruption leaves us rattled. And sometimes, it takes such a disruption to get our attention, pointing us toward God’s loving wisdom to help us handle the crisis.
But in facing these difficulties, we are also presented with opportunities to open the door with love and extend a hand to others. . . becoming the hands and feet of Christ. We show how deeply we care by sending cards, phoning or emailing/texting to check on friends, bringing food and supplies to neighbors, helping them pick up the pieces after the storm’s destruction, sharing gifts to bring a smile, and thanking medical staff who care for patients with training wrapped in arms of love. We’re all riding the waves of this storm together, but we’re each on a different journey.
We also need our gracious loving Lord every day, every hour, every minute. To handle stressors, we’re encouraged to “cast all [our] anxiety on him because he cares for [us].” (I Peter 5:7) I know I need to seek His wisdom, His will, His guidance on this new path… for comfort and peace are found when we remember to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6) No matter what, He will direct our path when we ask.
Just as Jesus reassured His disciples when He left this world, “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) – so He is with you and me, even in our deepest struggles of COVID-19 and its societal and financial effects. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:1), for He truly cares.
The Crucible’s Test
Linda A. Roorda
It’s only within the daily trials
That we often learn where our strength is found.
But are we weak and ready to break
At the slightest hint of adversity’s rout?
Or, despite fatigue do we stay the course
Focused on promise You’ll be at our side?
And do we cling tight to a faith held dear
Despite the trial, the crucible’s test?
With constant stressors of the daily grind
That wear away at the best resolve,
Feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to look up
Focusing instead on crushing demands.
As our hearts cry out from within the din
Not even knowing what prayer to utter
You hear us Lord, and Your arms reach out
Tenderly holding, that fragile we’ll stand.
For in the trial we come to find peace
When placing our trust to reflect on You,
Knowing the path of perseverance
Within the crucible yields wisdom with truth.