What submission looks like amidst a pandemic
Are you one of those people that are always looking to the next thing? My mother says that, when I was a child, I would always be asking, “What are we doing next?” instead of just being content colouring or playing with my tinkertoys. I need to know what’s coming and to have control over my life. God has been challenging me on this for the last couple of years, and what he is teaching me in the midst of this pandemic is no different. For a lot of you, I am sure you are facing even greater changes in your life than some of us could ever imagine. Some have lost their jobs or see a lay-off coming. Others have family members or close friends who have contracted the virus. Weddings are cancelled, moves have been put on hold, and dreams have been forgotten in all of this chaos. We really don’t know what is to come out of the next few months.
I love going back and listening to older worship songs. Bangers like “How He Loves” and “From the Inside Out” are food for my soul. The song that has been encouraging me lately has been “Desert Song” by Hillsong. I remember listening to this song through the highs and lows of elementary school drama. Though, the issues I dealt with then nowhere compare to what we are facing today. What is comforting to know is that the God who was in control when Lindsay didn’t invite me to her birthday party is the same God who walks alongside us today. He remains constant.
All of my life, in every season,
You are still God,
I have a reason to sing,
I have a reason to worship.
God is still God. He remains the same and is still in control, even when we feel as if the whole world isn’t. While it is comforting to know this truth, it isn’t always easy to live like we believe it. Amid this challenging time, what does it look like to abide in Christ? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus while in a pandemic? While the day-to-day schedule of each of our young adults may look different, the posture in which we choose to live in this time (all times) is that of surrender. We can no longer grasp at control and must give it to God.
In Matthew 16:21-28, Jesus predicts His death for the first time to His disciples. Peter rebukes Jesus in response, saying: “that shall never happen to you!” (Matt. 16:23 NIV) Jesus responds by saying to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23) and continuing on to say that Peter does not have the concerns of God in mind but that of humans. (Matt. 16:23) It was God’s plan for The Son to be crucified. Peter was standing in the way of this plan. Jesus goes on to say:
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
This was a very real picture to the disciples, even before the death of Christ. Those who were executed by the Roman method, crucifixion, were to carry their cross through the streets. They would take it to where they were set to be killed. Jesus tells His disciples that to truly follow Christ is to leave their security, safety, and earthly desires behind and to surrender it to Him. We are all called, as followers of Jesus, to do the same.
Surrender may look different to each of us as we spend our days at home, but the concept remains. For some, it may mean that whenever we find ourselves trapped in anxiety for what tomorrow brings, we lay our fears at God’s feet and surrender it to Him. To others, sacrificing our TV time to actively pursue God through daily devotion may be what we need to do. Surrender may mean mending broken relationships with family members you are trapped at home with by letting go of your pride and allowing God to work through those painful situations.
This is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain,
There is a faith proved, of more worth than gold,
So refine me, Lord, through the flame.
We are unsure of what the next few months bring and whether or not any of our future plans will come to fruition. We are told, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) I know that that’s easy enough to read but almost impossible to do at a time like this. However, when we surrender our need to have control to our Lord, we can find peace that our God will take care of us. His plans are perfect.
A resource found in our “Abide Pack” that can be of huge value is the Prayer of Submission. This daily practice postures us to “take up our cross” and give our whole selves to God. In it, there are also other resources such as a daily reading plan, podcast suggestions and writings on the issue’s spiritual discipline. These tools can walk you through what a life surrendered to Christ truly looks like and support you in deepening your relationship with him as you walk through this troubling time.