This year has quickly become known as the “year of the virus”—a reality-warping, news-dominating and seemingly unrelenting force labeled: “COVID-19,” or “Coronavirus.” It will go down in my mind as the year in which the absence of toilet paper sent an alarming signal to my brain (and this was not only in the shopping aisle at Walmart). Like the one that blares internally after sitting in a public restroom on discovery of a useless tube of empty cardboard. You know what I mean, don’t you? I feel like everyone’s hope has faded with the stay-at-home order, like the motion-lighting in that public restroom… my arms franticly waving to signal the motion sensor to bring the light! Then I finally realize that empty cylinder of cardboard could be useful in my desperation.

Forgive my slight irreverence and trivializing but I am reminded that our reality should not be warped by our times to drive us into despair. We do need to take socially distancing seriously to protect one another. We are not, however to be shaken or moved from God’s purposes, plans and ways. We can never forget that He thinks differently. Sees differently. Hears differently. God calls us to do the same, but how do we? If we are in Christ then we are “new creatures,” and in Him is “[transformation] by the renewing of your minds” (1 Cor. 5:17, Ro. 12:2) so that we can start thinking not according to the flesh but with “…the mind of Christ” given to us (1 Cor. 2:16).

Remember Mr. Potato Head?

He’s no longer the “bucket of fun” I once thought as a child. Drives me crazy now. I didn’t force my daughters to place his parts in the right spots but thinking rightly Mr. and Mrs. P should NOT end up with ears as feet and eyes for a hat! And the whole game begins and ends in butt. Yet finally I see. I am Mr. Potato Head and life at times also makes us all less often what we should look like, what the Bible essentially calls “stupid head,” (Is. 6:10, ESV). Thank God for making us new with the mind of Christ. With it comes eyes to really see and ears to hear what’s really being said and what’s to come. Now we can remember His ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts like ours (Is. 55:8). We can’t even understand them fully until our minds catch up with the sanctification our salvation has gifted (Job 36:26). Yet He will continue to do so we can remember in “the year of the virus” that His character is one from which He offers to save and turn our brokenness to belief. Our fear to faith. Trauma to trust.

Everything happening in this world is all about God and for His glory. He ordains and He works even in what seems bad for our good. Whether it seems so or not (Ro. 8:28). He wants us to trust Him and He will be our peace beyond normal understanding in a chaotic world where we can even “count it joy” as we face these “trials of many kinds,” (Jm. 1:2).

We can be reassured during “trouble,” that we live according to Him who says, “…take heart for I have overcome the World” (Jn 16:33). Now more than ever we need those new eyes and ears and to change our definition of what is “good,” so that we don’t live like we are the virus. We have been blessed now with new “eyes to see and ears to hear” the spiritual within that which seems just physical. To see God at work in all of life. Let’s pray for less of our understanding and more of His so that we can live not as the overcome but as His overcomers.