Read: Deuteronomy 31:1–8
After spring break, my husband and I returned to campus just long enough to pack the bare essentials and then headed to stay with his parents in Iowa. We decided it’d be best to get out of the city, away from the crowds before things got crazier. It felt so surreal, only 24 hours after arriving back on campus from vacation we were leaving it behind again.
Packing up our belongings for storage that day was a somber occasion. I had no idea when things would be back to normal. Boxing away item after item, I couldn’t help but reflect on the memories attached to each. I could live without all this stuff, but the memories and hopes that came with each object brought me to the brink of mourning. Each item felt like an emotional anchor I would have to leave behind. I felt overwhelmed and began to break down. I was leaving behind our home, my school, my friends, and my plans—uncertainty colored everything.
There is so much in our lives we hold as constant—little things that ground us in a comfortable reality. We take them for granted, whether they are objects, plans, places, or people. In Deuteronomy 31, the Israelites also faced a bittersweet situation. They were getting ready to settle in the lush land God had promised to them, but at the expense of losing their friend and guide. Moses, the man who had led them out of Egypt, had been with them in the wilderness for 40 years. The one who had been God’s messenger and a father to the whole nation was not going with them. This generation had been raised in the wilderness; they had never known life without Moses. He was their constant. They looked to him for guidance, comfort, and direction—and, just like that, their constant was being pulled our from under their feet. It was going to be a huge change for all of them. In front of them was a strange, unknown world full of uncertainty. They knew God would be with them, but they also knew that the road ahead would not be easy.
Today, this virus has created plenty of unknowns for all of us. Overnight, all of our plans and constants got flipped like a pancake, leaving us to try and get our legs back under us. But, for all this chaos there is still one constant that cannot be taken away, a hope we share with the people in Deuteronomy 31. Verse 3 says, “The Lord your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them, and Joshua will go over at your head, as the Lord has spoken.” The Israelites weren’t alone, and neither are we. Although the way ahead may seem difficult, the Lord our God has promised to be with us through His Spirit, the “Helper” (John. 14:16). He is our true constant. Our lives may not go back to normal and we may experience long-lasting change as we walk through grief, financial problems, and spoiled plans. However, God has promised to be present with us . . . even during this time. Those of us who follow Jesus know that God’s plans are never spoiled and He always has our greatest good at their center. He will never leave us or forsake us, as verse 6 goes on to say.
“Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it.” Because our God is with us, there is no need to fear or be discouraged. We must remember that our greatest need is already taken care of through Christ, and we can rest in Him even when the storm is at its worst. This is what sets us apart from the world, a trust in the unshakable God who will have His will done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).
Are you feeling overwhelmed today? Are you struggling with fear of the unknown? Are you doubting that God is really there? Jesus knows what you’re going through—He knows what it means to be weary, and He is reaching out to share the burden with you (Matt. 11:28–29). Be honest with God. Whatever you may be struggling with during this time, talk to Him. He is and will be our constant for life, and long after that. Put your trust in Him today.
Author’s Thoughts on Photograph: Sarah (the dog) was sitting in front of the glass door looking at the outside world. Something about the reflection in the glass caught my attention. Sarah displays the new world. Our new world, staying inside. Her reflection contrasts with the old world, where we were able to go out. It’s a strange time, and I wanted to capture a moment that describes this time. The dog’s expression is often the same as my expression somber and longing for normalcy. I often feel trapped in a box and find myself searching for constants life. God is that constant. But I don’t have to fear this “new world” or what’s to come of it.