“I think this is the summer that we try an overnight camp for Avery! It could be a really healthy growth opportunity for her socially, and I can volunteer as the camp nurse to save us money.”
My wife’s presentation was short and sweet. She had me at “save money”, the magic phrase that softens my heart to brand new ideas I’m not prepared for.
We talk through any potential schedule conflicts, the reality of Karis joining her, how I’m going to somehow work for a week with my 5-year-old little man sidekick with me, and of course the payment deadlines.
We make the decision.
At that moment, we had eliminated all barriers, which were self-made boundaries. Most of us live with endless possibilities in front of us.
At that moment, and honestly in every moment as a parent that I can remember, our decision seemed final. Nobody can tell us we can’t go to that camp. No possible scenario pops into our heads that would eliminate Avery’s chance at a her first awkward Christian camp experience.
Although we are still optimistic since the camp is in August, nothing is certain anymore. This global pandemic has changed everything.
We are used to making whatever plans we want, and having those plans come to fruition. We expect it. We almost demand it. It is our right.
Which is why James 4:13-14 has hit me so hard this month:
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
What I have been grieving the most is my lack of control over my schedule and freedom. I’m a planner. I can’t even plan something in May right now without having the cumbersome “tentative” tag attached.
For others, this applies to finances. Whether it is the emotionally-driven, roller-coaster stock market impacting hard-earned retirement plans, or clearly attainable financial milestones for a new home, paying off debt, or an upcoming vacation that are now in question: we feel lost.
And some, who happen to be in an industry dependent on social interaction, have seen a thriving, innovative start-up business go from promising to uncertain. While others were piecing together multiple jobs towards a brighter future, only to lose them all within a week.
Whether we are merely inconvenienced or completely devastated by this pandemic, this passage rings true for all of us. We are used to controlling our own destiny to a degree. Being able to predict, with a semblance of certainty, the path in front of us.
Most paths are currently blocked off, with no timeline of when the yellow tape will be removed. And even when it is, uncertainty will still abound.
Right now, we have an opportunity to fully grasp how small our lives are. To learn how to be dependent on God and others. To live present, grateful for the day in front of us as tomorrow is not promised.
Honestly, we have the chance to experience, in the span of a few months, what many embrace as their normal life: complete uncertainty in this world, compelling us to find our hope in something greater.
Most of the Bible is written from this perspective. In the midst of fear and anxiety, the Biblical authors found God. They found hope. They found joy.
We have a chance, in this moment, to grasp our faith from that same perspective. We have a chance to grow a muscle that rarely gets exercise.
When everything else is in question, we have the chance to find out if God is enough for us.
And for me, this is terrifying. Deep down, I’m scared to honestly answer whether God is enough for me. Staring that truth in the face will be painful, revealing a divided heart.
Yet I’m grateful that a loving God will meet me in the midst of my authentic reality and invite me to something more. I just need to be ready to respond.