Lessons of a Lockdown Season
As our 2020 plans were dashed in the spring, God was using the pandemic to remind us of valuable truths.
When the pandemic took hold and lockdown began, our ladies’ Bible study was just finishing a study in the book of James. If I remember correctly, our first study online was in James 4. Verses 14-15 were a particularly timely and pointed reminder. They read:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
As lockdown changed everything and made it impossible to plan ahead, God showed us the futility of man’s plans.
Instead he helped us see that he had not changed. In the midst of all our doubts about the future, what an encouragement it was to see that God continued to teach me and the ladies of Charlotte Chapel. He planned to use these circumstances for his glory and our good.
God is sovereign
The lesson of James 4 continued to be brought home time and time again throughout the following six months. Every time the restrictions were changed, and I couldn’t do what I had planned, I felt my anxiety rising. It was in those moments that God reminded me of his sovereignty: he is in control and I am not.
My plans only fall into place because he is willing my next steps. How much I need to hold onto the truth of Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Many of the plans I made for 2020 were not wrong, but now I saw how tightly I held onto them and, in turn, questioned God’s goodness when they were changed. Over time I started to see how God has been using this period to quietly but insistently tell me to trust him.
None of what the world was going through was a surprise to him. As I saw afresh God’s sovereignty, he was asking me if I was prepared to take one day at a time. Was I ready to keep following his guidance, trusting that he was working out his purposes even though I couldn’t see how?
God cares for his people
2020 has brought many painful situations into the lives of my church family, my friends, and my family. There have been bereavements, job uncertainties, and disappointments as plans have been overthrown. I’ve felt their sorrow and upset. I’ve wondered why God wasn’t bringing comfort in the way I wanted him too.
In one of those moments, I was brought short by the reminder that God’s love for those I was anxious for far surpassed mine. Who was I to doubt that he was working in their lives? Of course he was; his great love compelled him too.
His plans and timing are often different from mine, but that didn’t mean they were worse. His Word teaches me that his plans are always better. Again, God was teaching me to trust in his care for his people.
God is teaching us
Recently, I read Linda Allcock’s book Deeper Still. I loved it and can’t wait to try out her biblical meditation techniques. Her chapter on learning the truth particularly resonated.
I realised I was guilty of too quickly walking away and forgetting truths that God was teaching me through his Word and my circumstances. I don’t want to waste the lessons of this lockdown season.
I am praying I can find ways to keep holding on to all God has taught me through these last six months. As I do, my hope is that I will keep holding fast to God in the face of what the next six months could bring.