When it was not what we hoped... 

annie-spratt-MYa0tyV2DYM-unsplPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Last night and this morning I have been surprisingly emotional.

Like so many, I was watching our Prime Minister's announcement yesterday evening. Perhaps what Boris said was what you were expecting. But it left me … well… I don’t quite know.

At the very least, there is a complex mixture of emotions.

The end of last week things seemed quite positive. The papers on Thursday seeming to announce the end of lock down (irresponsibly now it seems). The C of E announced the four phases towards normal services being resumed. With excitement and with expectation I started to make plans for those.

Some of us were looking forward to the children going back to school. Life starting to look a bit more “normal.” 
Our hopes had a focus - and it was Boris’ announcement on Sunday evening.

And now…

Well now, we’re flat. We’re emotional. We’re lost (again). Some of us can return to work. We can all go out lots and sit in the park. But the weather is cold and windy. It hardly seems worth it… 

So… what are we feeling and thinking?

There is sadness, even grief. Some of us knew what we were hoping for. Others, like me, are not quite sure what we were hoping for. Just… not that. We feel bereaved (again) and can’t quite say why.

There is resignation: more weeks of lock-down with a few minor changes.

There is frustration.

There is realisation: this really is big. Six weeks in lock-down are not going to fix this. In my head I know this is a massive challenge. But as the weeks drag into months the magnitude of controlling Covid-19 hits home emotionally and in reality.

What do we do?

In all this we come back to key truths of our faith that remind us where our hope and faith lies:

- the Lord God is sovereign. As we are told repeatedly in the book of Daniel: - the Lord God is the one who changes times and seasons.  As someone said to me, "He has got this." He was not taken by surprise last night. And he is not taken by surprise by how you are feeling today.

- the Lord is a firm foundation.  As we saw yesterday, impressive kingdoms and empires rise and fall (is this a shaking of western civilisation?), but the word of the Lord endures for ever. We might feel thrown about, but “underneath are the everlasting arms."

- the Lord is always good. The Lord God knows what he is doing. He loves you. He won’t let you go. No situation is so bad that he cannot bring great good out of it. The cross and blood of Jesus declare that: to the world and over you.

- the Lord is with us. It might not always feel like it. But he has promised to be with his people. He is close. Cast your burdens on him because he cares for you. Turn to him, tell him how you are feeling. Draw it. Shout it. Sing it. Write it [I’ve found it helpful writing this]. He already knows, but we bring it all to him because he knows we cannot carry this. Really, we can’t. But he can.

Whatever the next few weeks and months hold, we come back to Psalm 46, words that were so precious at the start of lock-down a long 6 weeks ago: 

God is our refuge and strength 
    An ever present help in times of trouble
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea