On February 26, 2020, a little over two weeks before the severity of the Coronavirus became common knowledge in North America, my wife and I boarded a plane with our two boys—one nine years old and the other six. We were flying from Minneapolis to Orlando on a family vacation.
The boys were excited. They had flown before… and they knew what it meant. We were on our way to someplace fun. They also knew that for the next six days they would have their parents’ undivided attention. Isn’t that what children crave most? They want to be heard, seen, and loved.
As our plane began to descend into Orlando, we realized that we had been flying over a storm, and to land in Orlando we had to travel through the storm. My oldest son had a window seat. I was sitting next to him. We could see flashes of lighting, but more than that… we felt the plan shake—we could feel the wind, the change in airflow.
I could tell that he was scared, so I asked him, “What’s stronger, the airplane, or the storm?” With some doubt in his voice, he answered, “The airplane?” I laughed, realizing that I had asked him a trick question, and knowing that the truth might not bring him the immediate comfort he was seeking.
“No,” I said… “It’s the storm, but God controls the storm, and the storm can’t do anything that God doesn’t allow it to do. God is in control, and he loves us very much.”
God is in control.
We live in a broken world, and for the time-being God leaves it that way. He uses the trials we face to call us to repentance—to turn our hearts back toward him. But our repentance doesn’t mean that we will be spared illness or loss. These things we are called to endure with hope. Our hope serves as a sign for those who do not know the Lord. Our hope points to something bigger—something better. You see, in times of hardship unbelievers are looking for an answer, and we believers have the answer… in Jesus Christ.
As our world battles COVID-19, it’s hard to know what the coming months will bring. Will there be hardship? There already is! Will there be loss of life? There already is! But those things are part of life in this world. Even the Son of God wasn’t spared suffering when he took on flesh to live among us. Jesus felt sadness, anger, and ultimately he was crucified. He was stripped, spit upon, mocked, and nailed to a cross. The father in heaven… silent. The sun in the sky fading to black. The Son crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—longing for the Father’s attention—to be heard, seen, and loved.
If ever there appeared to be a moment that God had lost control… that was it. Jesus crying out… and releasing his spirit.
But that was the plan.
Jesus laid down his life for the sins of the world. He died for our anger, our hatred, our lies, our rejection of the Father, and by his wounds we are healed.
I don’t know what the coming months will bring… BUT I KNOW THIS… to get where we are going, we must travel through the storm. But we know the God who controls the storm, and he loves us very much.
In Christ we are children of God, and he is with us in every trial and every hardship.
The Apostle Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
God is in control. Trust in him. Turn back to him, and one day you will see your Redeemer coming on the clouds in power and glory.
REV. TROY TYSDAL is Director of Communication & Prayer for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, and serves as editor in chief of identity magazine.