The coronavirus has taken over the world. It has completely changed the course of our lives. Who would’ve guessed that this would be what 2020 looked like? On New Years Eve, I remember being so excited for a fresh, new beginning. 2019 was a whirlwind, and I needed to restart. And then low-and-behold, THIS happened. Who would’ve known?
When I first started hearing about the coronavirus, I honestly didn’t give it much thought. I didn’t really know what it was, and with my crazy life, it was the last thing I was thinking about. Then, it started hitting media in full swing. All of a sudden, everything was changing. Colleges were extending their spring breaks, and little by little more places began to shut down. Eventually, my school received the news that we were going online for the rest of the semester. I was shocked, sad and surprised that this could be happening. We watched the world shut down right before our eyes.
We can’t plan for something like this; it just happens. Although we don’t plan for a world pandemic, often times, we do plan every other aspect of our life. If something doesn’t go the way we plan, it can be unsettling. I’ll admit it. I usually have a plan for my life, and I don’t like when things get in the way of my plan. And this pandemic did get in the way. Going into second semester of my freshman year of college, I was determined to change my perspective to a more positive one. In my first semester, I had lost my confidence and was constantly consumed in my insecurities and negative thoughts. I was adjusting to a whole new place, and it was a hard transition for me. I had lost myself in the midst of it all. Second semester was my time to restart and make a change within my heart. I had goals that I was ready to reach in order to become myself again. Not only that, but I also had several exciting opportunities that were coming my way! Life was finally going the direction I was wanting it to go. And then, all of a sudden, I was packing up my dorm and heading home. It was very discouraging. But it didn’t only impact my life. It’s taken away some of your graduations, opportunities, and even for many, your jobs.
Our lives were turned upside down in no time. But doesn’t life just do that sometimes? We have expectations, but then reality flips those expectations on their head. It can be something as small as spilling coffee all over your outfit before an interview to losing a loved one. We’d love to say that life is like a road that’s straight with no bumps in its’ path, but the reality is that life is a road with bumps, potholes, and many sharp turns along the way. How are we supposed to face these obstacles that come to get in the way of our plans? Our goals? How do we handle the fact that our whole world seems to be turned upside down? More importantly, where is God in all of this? How could God let this happen?
When asking these questions, I was led to the story of Job. Job has always been a story that has brought about doubts within me. Job was an extremely faithful servant of God. He completely devoted everything he had to God. Job had the characteristics that I strive to have in my walk with Christ. God even describes Job as a man of integrity. From my view of Job and what I have read about him, it seems that he was humble and always placed his faith in God above all. BUT even with how faithful Job was, he still faced challenges that completely flipped his world upside down. Satan came for Job and he took what seems like everything from him. He took his oxen and donkeys and killed all of his servants and children. Even in the midst of losing all of this, he still remained faithful to God. Satan was determined to drive Job away from God, so he decided to attack Job yet again. This time, Satan put sores all over Job’s body which left him in unimaginable pain. Job’s friends had heard how much he was suffering, so they went to visit him. When they saw him, they didn’t even recognize him!!! That’s how weak he was from the trouble that was upon him. And he broke. He was left confused at God, asking why this was happening to him?? Was it something he had done? Earlier I said this story has always raised doubt within me. That’s because the question I ask when reading the book of Job is WHERE was God, and WHY would God let this happen?
Right now, it’s easy to ask these same questions. Where is God in the midst of this pandemic that has turned our lives upside down? Why is this happening to us? It’s also easy to ask these questions in other aspects of our lives. Why does God allow bad things to happen?
One of the most troubling parts of the story for me was how God actually gave Satan permission to bring this evil upon Job. I could never understand why. I was reading this story again when writing this, and I felt that God gave me more insight and understanding with this question that I have wrestled with.
The beauty of God is that God’s works are beyond our understanding. God gives us this amazing gift of life and along with that, the mysteries of life. Within this story, it’s important to recognize that Satan was the one that was bringing about this evil in Job’s life, not God. I believe that God doesn’t want us to face trials, but God wants us to gain perseverance and strength through the trials that the evil one brings upon us. That’s why I believe He didn’t stop Satan. God allowed Satan to bring this evil upon Job because God knew that He was SO much bigger than all of the evil that Satan could possibly bring about on Job’s life. God is SO much bigger than this world pandemic and any other trials that have and will come our way. God sets everything into perspective. God provides within us power to face the obstacles we’re trying to overcome today and the trials that we will face tomorrow. There is nothing too big for His power and mightiness.
I bet you are all on your feet (if you don’t already know) to know what the ending of Job’s story entailed. Well, Job actually received back his wealth and had another ten children after this tragedy. But before this ending came about, Job faced much doubt in his journey of battling the question of, why? He talked to God. He prayed. He asked God the hard questions. He struggled. And God answered. God answered Job with proclaiming that it was all above Job’s understanding. That should provide us with hope. This story tells us that although trials that we face within this world are beyond our understanding, they don’t surpass God’s wisdom. God provides us with hope and perseverance that mold us into people of character and strength.
The world is crazy right now. We all find ourselves asking this question of where is God? And God, why? If you take anything from these words, remember that God doesn’t provide the trial, God provides hope within the trial. Evil is always trying to win. It tries to take down our mental health. It tries to bring sadness and heartache in our life. It tries to put a barrier between us and our relationship with God. The good news is that evil doesn’t win. God always does. So what does this mean for us? This means start trusting God instead of the fear and hurt you are facing. Allow your trust in God to provide you with hope within the storm. Don’t be a slave to fear in this confusing time we’re in, be a warrior who puts on the armor of God.
“Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together?” – Job 38: 37-38
To answer these verses, God does and God can.