This is not a post about vaccines. It’s not about covid. But it has to do with a bigger picture which involves our current situation.
During the past two years, our world has put a lot of energy and resources into vaccines. Tons of medical work. Tons of marketing work. All for a very good reason — in the most basic terms, we have done these things to help less people get covid (and, I think there is some understanding that these vaccines can also help those who do get covid have milder symptoms).
We’ve done other work, like teaching about and promoting masks and social distancing. We’ve closed down public places, schools, and tours.
So much work, all to help us avoid getting covid. And I personally appreciate all of this work. I feel more safe knowing we’re at least trying to do something collectively to help the issue. I hope it’s helping.
Yet, it seems almost as if covid is not fully appreciating this massive amount of work we’re doing. Despite our efforts, covid is still “a thing,” and a pretty big thing to say the least.
“In this world you will have trouble.”
Not might have trouble; will.
We can get so caught up in avoiding trouble, that we begin to forget that trouble is unavoidable.
This is a really powerful thing to consider in our current season. This “trouble” of covid is one of many troubles we will experience in this life. It is terrible. None of us want it. But here it is nonetheless. It is here. It is unavoidable.
We can spend all of our energy avoiding unavoidable things. That is an option. But it may not be the best use of our energy.
What I am not saying is that we shouldn’t try. I am vaccinated. I am trying to follow the CDC Guidelines. But I am increasingly aware that if all of my energy goes toward avoiding covid, and I still happen to get covid, not only do I have covid, but I am in a very poor state to be able to handle it.
What if we put the bulk of our energy into becoming the healthiest people we can possibly be, so that if/when we do get covid, we are best positioned to handle it?
Then, it is no longer a game of tag — one which we will almost certainly lose once we finally run out of steam and slow down… once we forget to wear our mask, or wash our produce, or not give someone a hug… it is no longer a game of tag, but instead it is a dance. And because we have invested time and energy into becoming as healthy as possible, we are in the best position possible to tango with covid.
Or cancer. Or job loss. Or the death of a loved one. Or depression. Or disappointment. Or hate.
This post is not about covid; it is about anxiety… it is about “trouble.”
“In this world you will have trouble.”
Trouble is unavoidable. So, do we spend our energy trying to avoid it? Or will we spend our energy becoming ready for it?
In the case of covid, there seems to be evidence that vaccines can help us to be ready. But, we have all seen over the past few months that vaccines will not enable us to outrun covid. The variants are faster than our development.
“You say, ‘we will flee on swift horses’… therefore, your pursuers will be swift.‘”
We can not outrun trouble. We can not avoid the unavoidable. We can try, but in our trying we may forfeit our best energy, leaving us vulnerable to our pursuer.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Our strength lies in our ability to rest.
What is the best way to ruin the immune system? Neglect rest.
I would like to see our world shift from a mentality of avoiding trouble, to a mentality of handling trouble well. Instead of looking for pills to help us avoid getting sick, let’s invest in our health — let’s get 8 hours of sleep per night, let’s exercise for 45-minutes per day, let’s eat healthy foods (and not too much), let’s invest in our mental and emotional health, let’s take a walk or two per day. And let’s call our natural response of, “I don’t have time for that,” what it is — a lie.
Can you see this picture? We are on swift horses, riding faster and faster, trying to avoid trouble. But trouble is unavoidable.
There are pills and phones and grudges ready to help us avoid our trouble. We pray trouble away. None of us want it. But here it is nonetheless. It is here. It is unavoidable.
And, just like covid, our trouble seems to lack an appreciation for the amount of time and energy and resources we put into avoiding it. The variants of trouble are faster than our development. It can not be outrun.
So, what if we re-direct our energy — from avoiding trouble to being ready for it? What if we stop running from trouble and put ourselves in the best position possible to dance with it? To tango with our troubles?
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I believe God is available and ready to assist us in this work — of becoming healthy and strong, able to dance with trouble as it comes, able to rest in the midst of the unavoidable storms of life, and equally able to rest in the midst of life’s most beautiful moments. Able to be fully here, and fully now. This “here and now” — it is our territory. The forces that wish to pull us away from it are pulling us toward death. We don’t have to run anymore. Turn, and be ready.
The world is big… but so are you.