In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are in quarantine and adjusting to new rhythms and routines. Personally, it’s taken a lot of trial and error to figure out how to successfully work from home, communicate well with my husband, and alleviate feelings of going stir crazy. For those who are currently at home, we have a little extra time on our hands, even if we’re still working because we aren’t commuting or attending extracurricular activities. Life has quieted and slowed down, and that’s given us more time to think, process, and feel. Busyness can often be used to distract ourselves from addressing difficult circumstances or emotions. But when that’s stripped away, we can be faced with a flood of emotions.
The quarantine can intensify longing and loss
Walking through a season of childless can be difficult in “normal life,” but in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, feelings of loss or longing can feel intensified. Many of us are spending much more time on social media, and that can lead to heightened feelings of comparison or jealousy. Jokes have been floating around social media about a baby boom that will occur in nine months, implying that couples merely need more time to conceive a baby.
This week is National Infertility Week—a time to raise awareness about the 1 in 8 couples affected by infertility. Countless couples have walked through the heartbreaking reality of struggling month after month to conceive. Others have walked through the painful grief of miscarriage and loss. Many single women might be feeling the desire for a husband and to be a mother. Women who have had an abortion might be feeling intense grief right now. Childlessness takes on many forms, but each man or woman experiencing it grieves the loss of a child, or the loss of the dream of parenthood.
God might not answer our prayers in the exact way we want them to be answered, but we can trust that he’ll be faithful to his promise never to leave or forsake us. We can trust that he’s working all things together for our good and his glory.
How to fight discouragement and disappointment
I read through the book of Psalms almost every month. This practice has taught me how to bend my emotions around God’s truth and that it’s good and right to bring my feelings and emotions to God in prayer. The psalmists are extremely honest with the Lord and are frequently seen crying out with raw and honest questions and concerns. God is big enough to handle all of our emotions, and we don’t ever need to feel like we need to pull ourselves together before going to God in prayer. He promises to bear our burdens and invites us to bring our sorrows to him.
I’d encourage you to spend some extended time meditating upon and memorizing Scripture. Choose some promises to commit to memory, and fill your heart and mind with God’s Word. Here are some verses to meditate upon:
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.” (Psalm 116:1)
“The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” (Psalm 145:9)
The cross changes how we grieve
Jesus’ death and resurrection not only guarantees that anyone who places their faith in Jesus will be forgiven from their sins and have eternal life with him, it also changes every aspect of our life on earth. The cross was the ultimate declaration of God’s love for us. If we’re ever tempted to question God’s love for us, we need to look to the cross. While we will experience sorrow and loss on this side of eternity, God promises that we don’t grieve without hope. God might not answer our prayers in the exact way we want them to be answered, but we can trust that he’ll be faithful to his promise never to leave or forsake us. We can trust that he’s working all things together for our good and his glory. And we can trust that a day is coming when there will be no more grieving or suffering.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4.
God doesn’t promise us answers, but he does promise us his presence. May we long for the day when there will be no more death or sorrow, but until that day, may we develop a deep trust of the Lord.