We are at a year of the COVID pandemic crisis. It was around mid-March that the implications of COVID changed daily life for everyone. No human on the planet has been unaffected. Our generation will mark history as “before COVID” and “after COVID.”
In my city, the crisis began on Friday, March 13th, 2020.
Friday, March 13: Gatherings are limited to 250. I was on the phone all day with staff and colleagues across my city, determining a plan for the weekend.
Saturday, March 14: I had a funeral for a dear friend. There were 200 people. We had no idea this would be the largest crowd in the building for months.
Sunday, March 15: Gathering limit set at 50.
Tuesday, March 17: Gathering limit of 10, essentially a “stay home” order in effect.
Do you remember March 2020? It seems like yesterday and ten years ago. How do we mark this moment in history? How shall we “celebrate” this anniversary? Let me suggest two things:
Remember all that has been lost. Write a list. People, most certainly. Also birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Jobs and financial security. Relationships that have been lost or strained.
Remember. Grieve. Cry. Mourn. And then,
This may seem strange, but think about it. You are here. Whatever you have experienced in the last year, God has seen you this far. He has provided for and sustained you.
My friend Michael Knippa reminded me of the biblical Ebenezer stone. He writes:
When God again delivered the people of Israel from the Philistines in 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel set up a stone monument to the Lord. He called it, in Hebrew, Ebenezer, which means “stone of help” because Samuel said, “Till now, the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).
Samuel intentionally remembered the help of the Lord in troubled times. This a model for us as we approach the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID pandemic. A year ago we had little idea of all the disruptions, struggles, deaths, and suffering that were ahead. And yet, one year later, the Lord has remained faithful to us. He has provided for us.
A year later, I am a refined man. Humbled, but more faithful and more grateful. I have a renewed sense of my vocations as a husband, father, friend, brother, neighbor, and pastor. He hasn’t failed me yet. So I set up my Ebenezer stone: “Till now, the Lord has helped us.”
How about you? What will you remember on this anniversary? What will you thank God for?
Read Psalm 138. Verses 7 and 8 proclaim:
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.”