• Kara Abernathy

Calm in the Middle of COVID-19

The Chaos of the Coronavirus

When the coronavirus is all anyone could discuss, I found myself completely caught up in the news cycle. Do I need to get more food? What’s going to happen to my ER doctor husband? Will my students seek safe ways to have companionship and human interaction in the middle of social distancing and online learning?

There are so many questions, fears, and worries across our globe.

While our daily lives are anything but normal, we CAN find comfort in the way God has allowed our days to change. Whether you find yourself in a home filled with stir-crazy children or you’re suddenly out of the 9-5 hustle, this next season of life is going to be far from ordinary.

I might be spending my time differently, but the true shift is in recognizing what I cling to in order to shape my sense of identity.

Identify Shifting

It’s safe to say that this past week, all of the distractions and roles that frequently fight for my attention have started to disappear.

I’m a high school English teacher who prides herself on student achievement. How will that look if my hardworking kids can’t grasp the concepts from home in the same way as my classroom?

I’m a wife married to an ER doctor who finally feels like she’s used to his hectic residency schedule after almost three years. How will this coronavirus affect his last four months of residency? Will he constantly be called into work? Will he get really sick?

I’m a detail-oriented planner who cares about the to-do list and feeling productive every hour of every day. How can I accomplish all of my tasks if I’m stuck at home?

Yes, my achievement-based identity was called into question this week. God has used this season to remind me that NONE of those identities I hold so dearly are eternal.

Most days I feel like we as Americans think we can figure it all out, but the truth is, we just can’t. We don’t have it all figured out and these COVID-19 days remind us just how little we actually have under our limited human control.

Losing Control in COVID-19

After fighting with my husband this morning about how many times we need to wash our hands (yes, I’ve stooped to that level of frantic feelings), I knew I needed a reality check.

It’s no accident that I’m currently enrolled in a Bible study at my church where I am one of the youngest by about 20+ years. At first, when I enrolled in the study, I was expecting to meet women my age and form fast friendships. When, to my surprise, I showed up and was in a completely different life stage than many of the women, I felt a tinge of regret and wanted to stop going. Something told me to stay.

While we aren’t currently meeting in-person (hello social distancing), I’m still continuing to do the weekly readings and complete the thought-provoking questions.

Today’s reading was out of Psalm 62. Again, God makes no mistakes.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2).

This season is all about waiting in silence. Every hour I’m tempted to trust in the running headlines and social media feeds. While staying informed to some degree is productive, I also need to silence the noise and turn to the One who actually holds the power.

God alone is our Rock.

While it feels like our world is greatly shaken, I know the COVID-19 craziness just isn’t going to have the last word.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God” (Psalm 62:5-7).

Seeking Refuge in God

When our daily activities and typical job responsibilities are stripped away, what do we have left? We are no longer busy every single second of every day. We have space to breathe. We have space to pray.

This pandemic is reminding me of my deep need to swim up to the surface to catch a breath. God doesn’t want to leave us drowning. He’s waiting for us to turn to Him and find hope, salvation, and glory.

Whenever my fear and anxiety grow strong, I have to put down my phone and close my eyes to pray. God is in complete control over this infection. He knew it would be before the creation of the world, and He knows what will happen long after that dang curve is flattened.

My hope during COVID-19 is that many would turn and seek the Lord. We’ve got the time; we’ve realized our limits; we need a Savior.

God’s Word is a beautiful and a constant source of comfort.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:10).

Our mountains have been shaken. Our hills have been removed. God’s love is still unfailing.

Still struggling with fear?

Here are a few more posts that I’ve had to re-read this week:

  1. God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle – that’s a lie! Read for how He intervenes when we can’t handle it.

  2. No Fear in the Future – my past proves I can trust the Lord with my future

  3. Sick and Loved – perfect post for those in fear of contracting COVID-19 or have a loved one with a chronic illness that makes them immunocompromised

These next several weeks or months may be strange, but I’m committed to praying that the Lord uses it to reveal His goodness and His grace to those who need it (which is all of us!).

My love goes out to those who are already affected. God is the Great Comforter and He’s the Great Healer.

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© 2019 Kara Abernathy

Disclaimer: my thoughts do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of my employer.