Riding the Waves of Pandemic Emotions (3/4) - Who's In Control?

Now that we have named what we’re feeling (grief) and identified why we feel this way, what do we do about it?

"Unhealthy anticipatory grief is really anxiety, and that’s the feeling you’re talking about. Our mind begins to show us images. My parents getting sick. We see the worst scenarios. That’s our minds being protective. Our goal is not to ignore those images or to try to make them go away — your mind won’t let you do that and it can be painful to try and force it. The goal is to find balance in the things you’re thinking. If you feel the worst image taking shape, make yourself think of the best image. We all get a little sick and the world continues. Not everyone I love dies. Maybe no one does because we’re all taking the right steps. Neither scenario should be ignored but neither should dominate either." (Berinato, 2020)

Job faced the challenge of balancing his thinking. He was suffering, and listed all the reasons why he did not deserve the suffering. It made no sense, and so he cried out to God.

"And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days.

At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly."

Job 30:16-17

Job was deeply depressed and in pain. But he knew that God was in control in his suffering, and even of his suffering, and that he could trust God. He responded to his friends with this truth:

But wisdom and power belong to God.

Good advice and understanding are his.

Job 12:13

We see the same balance throughout the Psalms. David feared for his life, and he cried out to God in pain, yet in the same breath praising God.

"Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.

Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold.

I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.

I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched.

My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me…

Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.

For the Lord hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people.

Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them."

Psalm 69:1-3, 30, 33-34

What these men of God knew, and what we need to understand, is that God is in control of what happens, and that He is worthy of that control.

"You can also think about how to let go of what you can’t control. What your neighbor is doing is out of your control. What is in your control is staying six feet away from them and washing your hands." (Berinato, 2020)

We can’t control the circumstances, so we do what we can (wash our hands, stay at home, etc) and trust God with the rest. He knows what He’s doing, and reminded Job of that fact.

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?

Tell me if you know so much.

Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?

Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east?"

Job 38:4-5, 12

We can’t control what’s going on, but if we could…would things be any better? Maybe today would seem better, but we don’t know the future, so we don’t know what will ultimately be best. That’s why there is so much comfort in knowing the God who does. Trust Him to work this out in a way that we can’t yet see, but that is far better than we could ever imagine!

"And we know that God causes everything (even global pandemics) to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

Romans 8:28


Scott Berinato, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief” Harvard Business Review, n.p. web, March 23, 2020


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