“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
My heart is broken.
My heart is broken for so many reasons. My heart is broken for the thousands of people affected by this horrible disease ravaging the globe. It’s broken because I left the place I have called home for over two years and am not sure how soon I will get to go back. It’s broken because I keep seeing the statuses of those with whom I used to teach in Culpeper who have been robbed of the joy of teaching a classroom full of students for the rest of the school year. I’m heartbroken for the very first students I got to call mine, who should be walking across the graduation stage this year but have had that experience snatched out of their hands less than two months before they felt the pride of all of their hard work paying off. My heart is broken because I had plans to be there to celebrate with them.
But I am also so grateful.
I am grateful because I was able to fly out of Uganda just 7 hours before the country closed all of its borders completely. I am grateful because I got home safely, even after numerous cancelled flights. I am grateful because a couple, whom I had never met, agreed to let me quarantine at their house because I have family with underlying health conditions who I don’t want to put at risk. I am grateful to have worked with such amazing teachers, who have been bold in vocalizing how devastated they are that they aren’t finishing this school year with the students into whom they have been investing the past 8 months. Not a single teacher I know sees this as time off, and none of them are excited that they aren’t going back to work this year. I am grateful for those who are putting their lives at risk every day because they provide life-sustaining services for the rest of us.
I am grateful because I serve a God who is bigger than all of this. I may not understand why this is happening and why He is allowing it, but I trust that His plan is better than mine. I am grateful because He has not given me “a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV). I am grateful because He sees my broken heart and knows it. I am grateful because He has seen every single tear I have shed (and there have been many), and He held me as I wiped them from my eyes. I am grateful for His gift of salvation and that, because of this most generous gift, COVID-19 has no power over me.
Our broken hearts are real, and it is okay to be heartbroken. God sees us. He knows us completely. He has given us so much for which we can be grateful. In this, I find my joy, even when my heart is breaking.