“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Jesus) Matthew 6:34 The Message

 

This was certainly not how I planned to spend the winter.

I figured as soon as we had enough snow, I would cut a ski track around my pasture where the dog and I could step out the front door, ski in the sunshine and fresh air every day, and cap it off by occasional basketball games, a trip to the first weekend of the NCAA tournament in March.

As expected, the snow came at the end of January; I had my track cut a week later.

I got up the next morning with a dry cough that turned wet and wracking. Sure enough, the bronchitis that haunts me every winter was back for another round, bringing pneumonia and heart complications with it this time. The bluebird sky I longed to ski under now mocked me through the narrow window of a hospital room. Simply putting on shoes over my swollen feet left me breathless and gasping. My skis stood unused by the front door as I staggered from the hospital to my doctors’ office to the lab and the pharmacy. Six weeks of my life dissolved like a snowbank in a chinook, taking my hopes and my happy little plans with them.

But there was this book, the one my church group has been reading together all year. “You’ll Get Through This” by Max Lucado deals exactly with the shock of upside down plans, the trouble you never saw coming. At first, I didn’t think I needed it, but now I did. Desperately. I read and re-read Max’ summation:

“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With God’s help you’ll get through this.”

Whether it’s me with a health challenge or a rapidly spreading virus that no one saw coming, we all must get through crises, sooner or later. Our job is to do what Jesus commanded: don’t panic about the future and let God help us take the problem one step at a time.

“Don’t let the crisis paralyze you,” Max writes. “Don’t let the sadness overwhelm you. Don’t let the fear intimidate you. To do nothing is the wrong thing. To do something is the right thing. And to believe is the highest thing.”

FATHER GOD: Keep us from panic. Help us to trust You and carry on. Amen

First published in “Bozeman Daily Chronicle,” March 15, 2020.