During our April 14th virtual chapel, senior Maria Smith shared her testimony of what God has been teaching her during this COVID-19 experience.
There have been a lot of nights since March 13th that I have questioned God. I have questioned his plan, and I have questioned my purpose. I hit one of the hardest nights of my life on April 2nd, the day the governor said we cannot go back to school for the rest of the semester. I was in denial all day and then at about 11pm it all hit me. I tried to journal about it but ended up just sobbing.
I felt like everything I had been looking forward to had been taken from me. I felt that it was not fair that all this was happening to me. And I felt like God was so far from being in the picture. I know a lot of you were feeling the same way that day. We all had exciting things planned for the rest of the semester whether that was spring sports, the musical, Jr./Sr. Banquet, or working hard to accomplish goals academically.
I don’t think any of us realized what this quarantine had in store for us because I know I didn’t. I thought it was a joke that Friday at school when they sent us home. I thought everyone was crazy for stopping school. Well it turns out the quarantine was actually necessary because this virus is hitting some of us very close to home. Through this time at home God has taught me two life changing things.
First, I am typically a pretty independent person. I like to focus on the tasks at hand and not worry about other people too much until my work is done. God has really humbled me through this time at home though. I realized that independence is not always a good thing and it can turn into pride really quickly. I found out that I need people. I need them to keep me out of my head and bring accountability to me.
And I realized that one of my purposes in life is to encourage people. The Bible talks about encouragement many times and I figure that if I need other people then other people probably could use some encouragement from me too. We all need each other and we are all going through this together. None of us are alone no matter how lonely we may feel. I have become thankful for technology and my family like never before. Imagine going through this quarantine completely alone. Good thing we have people with us right? Even though sometimes we can get tired of always being with our family and our siblings drive us crazy, it is better that we have them in our lives.
The second thing God has been teaching me is that He is the only one who brings good things. I realized that for so much of my life I have been trying to find fulfillment in my friendships or all the activities I’m involved in. In reality though, the only good thing in my life has been God all along. Psalm 16 is what made me realize this. I was going through a day feeling pretty down and purposeless when I decided to read my Bible. Psalm 16:2-3, 5-8 says:
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”… Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Isn’t this such an amazing picture of God’s love for us? Everything in life may seem bad and hopeless, but ultimately God is the one who gives us good gifts. Apart from him, there is nothing good. I love verse 8 of that chapter too. “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” It is so hard to keep my eyes only on God, but if I shift my focus for even a moment, it is very easy to become discouraged and feel hopeless.
Overall, I have been learning that I need to seek God every single day. Every day it is a choice to choose hope and not disappointment. We all face struggles: Home life may be difficult in these days, e-learning may be hard, grades may be discouraging to you, social distancing can be lonely. But I encourage you to share your struggles with a friend or a family member. You are not alone and we do not face this coronavirus alone. The Bible reminds us not to lose hope. Hebrews 10:23-24 are some of my very favorite verses. They say: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
To close, I want to share something Mr. Grass said in one of his Facebook videos: What you do everyday matters. Remember there is purpose in the struggles of each day and seek the Lord in this time of isolation. He is always with you and He will not turn you away when you seek Him.