The COVID-19 Coaster

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I’ve just finished riding all the roller coasters at Canada’s Wonderland. All seventeen. What rides!  Dread-inducing hills, precarious summit pauses, blistering plunges, whiplash turns and dark, disorienting tunnels—some of it a blur and all of it out of my control.

“Wait!” you protest, “There’s a pandemic going on. Theme parks are closed. How did you land a seat on those coasters?

I watched the youtube video: “All the Roller Coasters at Canada’s Wonderland!” One click and I was sitting in the front car, headed for that first imposing hill.

Riding in Real Time

So no, I didn’t actually ride those coasters, only virtually. But I am riding a real coaster in real time these days, and so are you.

We are riding the Covid-19 Pandemic. Its track features unnerving climbs, ninety-degree dives and sudden reversals. Powerful G-forces pull us in all directions. And no one in their right mind is whooping and hollering from the back car, arms raised in exhilaration.

Psychologists say this pandemic is triggering a fight-or-flight response in many of us, evidenced by faster breathing, tensed muscles and accelerated heart rate. Dips and dives in statistics, predictions and opinions stir up our emotions and scramble our stomachs. For a lot of people, life seems to have gotten totally out of control.

Now is the time for believers in Christ—all who have asked God to forgive their sins, trusting that Christ paid for them on the cross—to remember this:

The pandemic might be our outward experience, but it doesn’t have to be our inner reality.

Who’s in Control?

The 2002 4Him hit, “Life is a Roller Coaster,” written by Mark Harris and Don Koch, describes times like ours and sings out a faith-bracing reminder:

“And as you go through highs and lows

and all that’s in-between,

the Lord alone is in control of this big scream machine…”

God alone is in control (Jude 25). Not the epidemiologists, not the supply chain, not the government officials at every level. And our Lord wants to firmly secure us against whatever we’ll encounter on this wild ride. In fact, He’s built in every safety measure we’ll need:

When powerful forces threaten to crush us or fling us from our seat, the Holy Spirit (who has been given to every believer) is the Guide Wheel that locks us to the track (Rm. 8:35-39). When it seems the rushing wind swallows our anguished cries, prayer instantly reaches God’s listening ear (Heb. 4:16).

And when sudden turns take us by surprise, God’s Word is our grab bar. Consider James 1:3-4:

“You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV).

“Know…let,” James says. Today. Right now. Know God’s good intentions for you in this pandemic. Know that this ordeal will build a spiritual backbone in you. And let one super-quality emerge from this trial-by-coronavirus: Perseverance.

James promises that if we allow perseverance to “finish its work,” we’ll find ourselves standing firm in the chaos (even while earnestly longing for it to be over). We’ll be able to ride it out, confident that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Flatten the Curve!

How about it? Do we want peace in this pandemic? Assurance of God’s care? Anticipation of His blessing? Joy in His attentiveness? A sense of sufficiency, through Christ, for anything coronavirus brings our way?

I, for one, don’t want to waste this challenging season. God helping me, I’m choosing to know and let. Join me, please. Let’s consider this ride to be, at every turn, an opportunity for our maturing, for becoming more like our wonderful Lord. Let’s please God with our trust, testify to God’s sufficiency and encourage the alarmed around us.

By the Spirit’s power, we can flatten our curve of dread. We can prevent a spike in discouragement. We can meet whatever’s over our next hill with steadfast trust.

No fear. No fainting. No white knuckles.

Just hands in the air—not in foolish bravado, but in praise to the One who is in control of this big scream machine.

About the Author

Sandy Mayle is a freelance writer. She has written for Discipleship Journal, Christian Courier, Just Between Us and many other publications. She and her husband, Dave, attend First Alliance Church in Erie, Pa.

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