Sunday morning, December 7th, 1941. I wasn’t alive when it happened, but my Uncle Herb was stationed at Pearl Harbor and on his way to church. The sirens went off, and planes started dropping bombs. Do you think he was surprised?

Now my uncle could have stood there, looked up to the sky, and said several things in reaction to what was happening:

  • “Someone screwed up.”
  • “Why didn’t we know about this?”
  • “This wasn’t how I planned my day.”

But I don’t think he did that. He quickly assessed that he couldn’t stop what was happening (there’s a lesson in this), which might have taken a half-second. He immediately jumped into action and ended up taking a little skiff out into the water to pick up survivors.

His world and everyone in this country had their life turned upside down that day.

I think that’s the way we all feel today with COVID-19. We were surprised and didn’t see it coming. I know I’ve been amazed at how quickly this has all unraveled.

Some of our elected representatives and some in the media aren’t helping us in how they ask questions. They use words that imply someone should have anticipated COVID-19. That someone should have built a system to fix it and or adequately respond to it. Everyone wants to blame someone, but that doesn’t help.

Unfortunately, surprise transitions are a part of life. We can’t eliminate them, and I don’t think we want to, because it is in these surprise transitions that we have our most significant personal growth.

It’s better to ask how we can get through this transition and come out better on the other side. Even more, we should ask, How do we thrive through this transition?

It starts with accepting what has happened and what we can’t change so that we can move forward. It’s easy to look back and second guess what might have been done to improve on the situation. We’re good at doing that.

But we need to forget the past. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

I can’t begin to imagine the challenges and concerns you are facing today. It could be:

  • Figuring out how to teach students from home when you haven’t done it before, while your children are at home with you
  • Trying to work from home
  • Not working and wondering if you will have a job or if your business will be able to re-open when this is all over
  • How to conduct church virtually for the first

Let’s acknowledge those concerns and challenges you are facing are real. It’s silly to act as if it didn’t happen. Take a page from Job and have a day of complaining.

“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul (Job 4:11).

It’s okay to have a day or two of complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. Get it out of your system and give it over to God.

But accept that complaining won’t change anything.

You must put your energy into today, and what you can do that’s positive. What can you do that’s within your control? Let’s all work together to move forward and see what doors God chooses to open for us in the future.

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