It’s been about a month since COVID-19 has ransacked almost every aspect of our daily lives.
(It recently dawned on me that I haven’t put on a pair of jeans, or really any nice clothes, in about two weeks. Anyone else with me?)
I’m a slow processor and a strong feeler. In these few weeks, my emotions have bounced all over the board. These days have also served as a stark reminder that I’m not in control.
The daily headlines have focused on death and loss — loss of lives, jobs, plans, and any sense of normalcy. My heart can’t hold it all.
One loss for me (and for my friends pictured above) has been our final days together at CCC and upcoming residency and master’s graduation celebrations. I envisioned us posing for photos and cheering each other as we walked across the commencement stage.
My vision doesn’t match my reality. My plans aren’t coming to pass.
(Can you relate?)
Embedded in those bolded sentences above are lessons God keeps whispering. He recently took me back to a passage in Isaiah 43. The verses were meaningful to me last summer, and he’s still using them to speak hope and life over what looks dead.
Forget about what’s happened;Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG)
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
My tendency throughout my time in the residency has been to look back, to dwell on what my old life looked like. I had a nice, comfortable life. But I knew there was more. And I wanted to find out.
For months I asked God for direction in my career and my life. I believe the residency program was one way he answered my prayer. It just wasn’t the answer I was expecting.
The residency has been difficult for me. There’s been pain and suffering. God has been removing what doesn’t belong, and he’s held my hand through a process of healing and growth.
Now that the program is almost over, it feels a lot like I’m starting over. Just thinking about it makes my palms sweat and my heart race. But here’s what I’m learning:
When God does something brand new, we have to be willing to begin again.
We must be willing to forego our good plans, forget our idyllic visions, and embrace another path.
In the above passage, another sentence stands out to me today: I’m making a road.
The residency has been part of the road, however twisty and turn-y, that God is making. What I thought would be the finish line is turning out much differently — more like a checkpoint than the destination.
I certainly didn’t see quarantine coming, and I figured I’d already have a solid plan for what’s next.
But the road goes through the desert.
Our journeys often include time in the wilderness. And when you’re walking through a wasteland, it’s brown and bleak and burning hot.
Our visions and plans don’t always pan out. Yet our God promises a path! He builds a road right through the ocean and makes a way when it looks like a dead end.
I bet your day-to-day looks different right now. Maybe you’re ready for life to get back to the way it was before. But what if God is leading you in another direction? Maybe quarantine is a checkpoint to a brand-new normal.
We’re living in trying times and navigating uncharted waters. Yet God can give us calm, even in a storm.
I don’t want to be so focused on the past, the pandemic, or my own plans that I miss the new thing God is doing. How about you?
So let’s keep walking forward in faith on the pathways he paves, even if it means we must begin again.
As for me, I’m going to keep following Jesus on this adventure after residency. He’s the only one worth following, and I know his path leads to life.
Below you can watch the video I filmed for our graduation ceremony on April 28, 2020.
If you’re reading this right now, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for you and your support — whether in the form of friendship, prayers, finances, or simply reading this blog — during this season of my life.
I believe the best is yet to come!