The Elections, the Virus, and the Violence–the three big issues (so far) in this unusual year–have taken up a lot of time and ink. I focused on each one in recent months, and, after re-reading those earlier posts, I don’t have much to add. Here are those links:
My one additional thought about next week’s election would be: It would be a terrible tragedy if two relatively short-term issues–the President’s personality and the Coronavirus–wound up pushing us into a decades-long disaster of national control by elitist Progressives.
That said, back in April I wrote-forward a post to myself called Note To Self for October in which I emphasized, as the lockdown really took hold, how important will be Attitude and Investing in Relationships to navigate successfully through the unknown waters ahead. Now that it’s October, it’s time to take a look at how we’ve done. Let me stipulate again that I’m not writing this note to anyone who has lost a close friend or family member to the virus, nor to anyone whose livelihood may be permanently eliminated by the pandemic. We grieve with those who are suffering with such severe loss, and we pray for God’s healing grace and peace. I am writing to the majority of us who have not suffered such a loss, but whose lives have nevertheless been impacted.
I wrote back in April: Since we believe that God is in charge of everything, He’s also in charge of this virus, the lockdown, and our investments in each other…Maybe He’s trying to get our national attention one more time to focus on the only part of His creation that really matters to Him and the only part that will actually transition to eternity: people. All of us are made in His image. Every single person. Born and unborn.
My initial thought for this note was to suggest that even now we’re not far enough into the process, and that we’ll need more time to fully understand, appreciate, and help, where necessary, all those who are being impacted–not necessarily with the virus itself, but with the many indirect effects which we now hear about. Schooling. Careers. Investments. Working from home. Childcare. Multi-generational living together. Multi-generational separation.
While that is true, I think the greater lesson so far is to remind us that whatever we think is “planned” or “normal” is not. We’ve studied before about Black Swans in our economy, and about building margin into our financial and social lives to take account for them. But the emphasis there is primarily on economic uncertainty.
The last eight months have reminded us of something we don’t want to hear: Despite all our modern systems and advancements, we simply are not in control. We are much better off than every earlier generation in every possible measure of health, wealth, longevity, recreation, etc. But we are not in control, and we never will be.
On a personal level, I was thirty-seven when I finally realized this truth, gave up trying to be in control, and turned my life over to the Son of God, who knows everything about me and has better plans for me than I could ever imagine, because those plans include eternity with him. Who needs to sweat steering every minute of every day when the ultimate destination is guaranteed, no matter the unexpected twists and turns? And that destination is better than anything I could ever map out on my own.
I have to say that if I believed that we–our family, friends and colleagues–not to mention our cells’ DNA code and the billions of stars in the sky–were all just some random juxtaposition of atoms with no purpose, I would find it hard to get out of bed each day. But once I did, I would then do my best to control every aspect of life and every outcome possible, to turn them to my advantage. And I would worry a lot when things got off track or outside of my plan.
I of course still try to take back the wheel on occasion, and I obviously want to provide the best possible outcomes for everyone whose life I touch. But I know that I am not in control. God is. Every breath I take is a gift from Him. Even though I try to live by His teachings and to seek His guidance, every plan I make I still have to hold with an open palm, because He may have other, better plans. It gives me great peace and joy to know, first, that there is more to reality than what I can see, and, second, that He has it all in His control, so I don’t have to worry or fret.
On a corporate level, that is the billboard that is this pandemic: I am God, and you are not.
If you haven’t surrendered your life and your plans to Him yet, let the constant uncertainties of these months be the final reminder that He created you, He knows everything about you, and He wants to give you His peace which passes all understanding, even in a pandemic. Surrender to Him. Ask for His forgiveness. Invite His son into your life. Not as a religion–but as an actual relationship with God’s own son. Personal. Real. Amazing. Grace.