Travel is always easier when you take the trip with someone who’s been there before. That’s the part of the COVID19 shutdown and the ensuing economic decline that has rattled so many people. We’ve never been down this road before. We have no vaccine for COVID19. There’s a reason it’s called a novel virus. Novel means new and boy howdy, this one’s so new, it caught an entire medical community with moisture behind their ears.
Forging into the unfamiliar can be exciting.
As Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise said at the end of the first Star Trek Next Generation episode, “Let’s see what’s out there.”
That’s fine for sci-fi spaceship captains and rock climbers. They’ve got their ship; they’ve got their gear. They’re packed, ready to go, and in control of venturing into the unknown. Catch me unprepared, forget to give me the manifest, and I might transport off your adventure ship.
I can think of two scenarios when I’m not happy with experiencing the “out there.”
- The unfamiliar finds me rather than me finding it, wiping out my comfort routines and coping skills, and not giving me time to prepare. Think COVID19 shutdown.
- Exploration and vanquish of the unknown become more than I bargained for. I signed up for the adventure but I expected snowscapes, not avalanches. Work with no sweat and at least a towel to wipe my face. Good hard work—as long as I knew what I was doing and didn’t look too foolish in my ineptitudes.
Let me be real
My incompetence laughed at me this week as I made a list of all I need to do to prepare for the launching of my book, “Open My Eyes, Lord” next year. Yes, I want to publish a book. I want to market it. What fun, what excitement. Let’s see what’s out there and find out how to do this thing.
Wait, wait a minute. I’m not feeling as adventurous as I once was. Captain Picard was used to vanquishing galactic sized giants. This is my first book. I don’t have a degree in marketing and business. So much I don’t know.
Preacher Creature let me vent my panic for five minutes. Then he told me the plot of a movie.
In the 1968 film, Ice Station Zebra, a nuclear submarine, the USS Tigerfish, must rush to the North Pole to rescue a weather station community. On board are two enigmatic foreign characters who hint to Captain Ferreday (played by Rock Hudson) that there is more to this mission than the stated orders imply. Also on board are a group of marines and some nervous sailors.
As the submarine heads under the polar ice cap, 1st Lt. Russel Walker comments, “It’s just . . . none of us have been aboard a submarine before.”
The commander replies: “Rest easy. I have.”
Preacher Creature reminded me that publishing company marketing teams have had years and books of experience behind them. I may have never done this before. But they have.
How you can minimize stress over the COVID19 shutdown
My feelings of venturing into the unfamiliar world of marketing are mere blips on the radar compared to the wormhole of uncertainty our world has faced in the last three months. Never in our lifetime have we seen a world sized virus push entire nursing homes onto sickbeds, close down meat packing plants, and bring flourishing economies to a grinding halt. “When will this be over?” our confined-to-home children ask. And like never before, we’ve had to say, “We don’t know.”
I’ve never been aboard a pandemic before.
Maybe that’s what many folks, even Christ followers, find scary about death. As a Christian, I believe life awaits me on the other side. Death is not the end. Yet I squirm at the thought of walking toward that point, losing strength and desire, suffering pain, weakness, and helplessness. It’s not Death I fear. It’s getting through to that point that I don’t relish.
Maybe you are like me and don’t like other unfamiliar situations either:
- Unexpected criticism.
- A strange sickness or disease laced with uncertainty about proper treatments or remedies.
- Seismic interruptions that disrupt the ordinary and threaten life and livelihood.
Do you feel that way?
The unknowns of life are unfamiliar by their very definition. Anxiety seeps into our spirits because we lack experience, we’re bereft of resources, and we’re not confident in our ability to cope and conquer.
Jesus, our Commander in Chief, whispers in our ear. “Rest easy. I have.”
We can travel through the unchartered territory of any crisis by resting in the truth that Jesus has been through what we face.
What makes Jesus a credible, capable, tour guide for our life journey?
- Faced the temptation to give up. That’s the basic strategy Satan used in his three temptations listed in Matthew 4.
- Stood against giant sized opposition. Think Pharisees.
- Felt pain. Does a scourging with chunks of metal across the back count as familiarity with pain? I would think so!
- Experienced the sensation of not being able to breathe. In a crucifixion, cause of death is ultimately suffocation.
- Walked through the portal of Death – and won.
Yes, Jesus has experience life and death. Experienced, coped, and conquered. We can trust Him because He wrote the book on how to overcome suffering and death.
The writer of Hebrews said,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”Hebrews 4:15 NIV
“Rest easy,” Jesus tells us.
The danger and uncertainty are still there, but we’re not doing it alone and we’re doing it with an experienced traveler. As we realize that the Lord of the Universe travels with us, we can trade our suitcase of tension for a duffle bag full of excitement and curiosity. “Lord what do You have to show me? How will You get me through this one? I want to see!”
Trust in Jesus siphons off fear and replaces it with the fun and excitement of the adventure.
Maybe you’re wondering the same things I am. You’re wondering if you can cope with:
- going through this time of history
- the possibility of contracting what sounds like a horrible disease
- doing something I don’t think I’m capable of doing,
Can we do this? Can we do things we’ve never done before and go places we’ve never been.
Jesus is not Captain Ferreday or Captain Picard. Jesus is real. He conquered a real world, a host of physical and spiritual enemies, and Death itself. If he could prevail over his own death, what’s a world-wide pandemic or a collapsing economy?
Rest easy. Jesus won’t let you down. He’s got the experience you need to make it through. Do a couple shoulder rolls to relieve the tension, take his hand, and explore the unseen together.