“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” – John 14:27
We live in times of uncertainty.
With the advent of the Coronavirus, each day brings a new update; a new unprecedented shift in our modern society. Seemingly all sectors of life have been effected, from travel restrictions to hygiene rituals to sporting events to conferences to the economy. We continue to hear of the growing number of people around the world with infection, along with strategies to prevent any further spread.
Of course, we at Berkeley continue to rely on the best information available, from parents and professionals alike, to make the most responsible decisions possible, given this global challenge. We also continue to pray for all who have been impacted by this pandemic.
The question, as Chaplain, that I am called to address is how a person of faith might engage this uncertainty. What exactly should we be praying for? Where is God in the midst of these uncertain times? How do we wade forward, with reasonable action, all the while trusting in a divine Creator who is the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end? How might we sustain faith throughout tumultuous shifts in our society, whether local or abroad?
In speaking with a colleague, I mentioned that my prayers these days centered on peace. That God’s peace may overwhelm any change, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and even death. To which he responded that, for him, peace is the umbrella that covers all of those occasions. Peace, of course, feels hard to come by when bombarded with the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
As to the second question, I believe God is most visible in times of uncertainty, which almost always translates to times of transition. Whether said transition is full of joy or tragedy, God is at work ushering beloved creatures through this threshold. I believe this to be true, most notably, with how my body responds in these moments. The same energy and movement within can be found on both ends of those spectrums. While not always easy to name that jostle inside as God on the spot, the next season reminds me of the reality that I wasn’t able to claim in the moment. Yes, God is here – holding, healing, providing, guiding, crying, and lifting up.
Wading forward is a difficult endeavor, for sure. As change continues to morph each day, the water may feel difficult to navigate. That one step at a time that once was so natural, now may feel laborious. But people of God are called to keep moving. For God continues to call us to transformation. And in this Season of Lent
, this is especially so. We are called to look within, to join God in the wilderness of our souls, to resist whatever temptations may emerge. Christians will soon hope to die with Christ to that old life on Good Friday
, to rise to the newness of Easter
. This journey is sometimes full of more obstacles, as it seems to be in these times. But the path is the same – one foot forward. Then another. And another.
Faith in God in times like these may be difficult to muster. I liken it to the faith those early disciples had to endure on Holy Saturday
, the longest day, the one in between the death of an old life and the emergence of a new one. Good Friday has passed. And Easter is yet to come. And Holy Saturday is lasting way too long. But, the believer is called to know the power of resurrection; know that God is even at work in times of uncertainty.