I’ve been feeling how I imagine many of you feel in the face of today’s quarantine-like conditions and fears for the future: helpless. I can’t go to work, I can’t encourage people with hugs and practical help, I can’t even stand and sing songs of praise to God to lead in worship because this morning, church was canceled for the foreseeable future. I see around me people who seem to know what to do, and do it, and I just don’t. When the most useful you can possibly be to society is to stay inside and not breathe on anybody, you have to wonder, what use am I?
A temptation Satan likes to use against me is that I am a bother, an inconvenience, an obstacle in the way of efficiency, and that I should go die quietly in a corner so I don’t bother anybody. My words are wrong and useless. My thoughts are convoluted and unwanted. My life is pointless. And I wonder if, given the way the world is right now, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Satan is the father of lies. Every lie ever told stems off the lies he planted at the Garden of Eden. Every person who lies is merely imitating their father the devil (John 8:44). Satan likes to wrap his lies in the truth (Matthew 4:5-6), likes to sell half-truth like it’s the whole thing, and all for the singular purpose of my absolute destruction (John 10:10).
But God is truth.
The truth is, before the virus ever existed, God prepared me. He wonderfully knit me in my mother’s womb with this day in mind. “You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:13-14, 16).
The truth is, before the virus ever existed, God prepared good works for me. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Like a track laid before a train, God has determined the course, prepared the terrain, leveled the landscape, built bridges, blasted tunnels, and, knowing every obstacle my train would ever encounter because He created them, He intended, fully and purposefully, to bring me here.
The truth is, before the virus ever existed, God did. And without Him, nothing was made that was made (John 1:3). Including the virus.
I don’t know what God’s plan for the future is, only that He knows it, and it is good (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11). I don’t know what God’s purpose for me is, only that it is marvelous, and it will be a masterpiece (Psalm 139:13; Ephesians 2:10). I don’t yet have an answer to the question “what use am I,” not in any practical terms, but I do know God designed me to be a light in the darkness, a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14), and whether I get to shine on a church stage before a hundred people or on the phone with one, or whether the only shining I do is in prayer for our nation and our neighbors, then I will shine. Jesus is in me and He can’t really help it.
Far from being helpless, there is nothing in this world–nothing–more powerful than when Jesus shines. The darker the world, the harder He is to miss. The weaker I am, the more He shows up strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). The less I am able to do, the less I get in His way, and the more eyes have to turn to Him instead of me. And that is something worth celebrating.