When the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping across the U.S. in March, plans for the foreseeable future were wiped. Students found themselves finishing the semester online, work became remote, travel became virtually obsolete, events were postponed or outright canceled, and many milestones — graduations, birthdays, anniversaries — were spent on lockdown. For a while, plans for even the next day did not feel promised.
This was incredibly frustrating for me. It helped that this was a collective experience, but as a planner, I struggled. There was no concept of the future — just a never-ending now. A waiting. Stillness. Unfortunately, a pandemic has no remorse for preparation or exciting plans or the fact that you are going into your final year of undergrad.
Scripture especially has put COVID-19 and the better part of this year into perspective for me.
3 Lessons the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Taught Us
- We cannot stake our claims in the future – The book of James warns us against such self-confidence. It reads, “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there for a year’… How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?” (James 4:13-14). This summer especially, when asked about my plans to study abroad, I would say, “Well, I was supposed to go to Costa Rica this May…” Lately I have corrected myself, explaining, “I had planned to study abroad.” I recognize now that it was never in God’s plan. I try to avoid claiming plans for the future with certainty.
- Ultimate Control has never been in our hands – I immediately think of the popular proverb, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9). There are several things in life I can control: what I say, how I treat others, the way I react. God is ultimately sovereign. I can strive all I want, but what is meant to come to pass, will, and what is not, will not. As the book of Isaiah reads, “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken — who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” (Isaiah 14:27)
- We are not meant to navigate life on Earth alone – Verse after verse details God’s desires for our lives. One that struck me recently was Exodus 33:14, which reads, “The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest — everything will be fine for you.” Another — “Only in returning to me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength” (Isaiah 31:15). He longs to make our burden easy and our yoke light (Matthew 11:28-30). I can accomplish an impressive amount in my own strength, but I was not meant to. Life– a pandemic — does not have to be as hard as I make it.
— Jenna Costanzo, Intern with the Center for Modern Family Dynamics
Jenna is a senior psychology major, public relations minor at Belmont University. She is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee.