As the months march on, we might be seeing a glimmer of light at the end of this dark pandemic tunnel, signaling that the end might be near for the COVID-19 crisis. But whether it is coming to an end soon or sticks around for a while longer, what does life on the other side of this look like?
For some, the reality that life on the other side of the tunnel will not return immediately to pre-COVID normal will be a shattering discovery. Some businesses may reopen, but many people are still left without jobs. Early school closures have forced many to readjust educational strategies for their children, while graduates are left with an anti-climactic end to their schooling. Social distancing has become a normal feature of society that may continue to impact us for months to come. Churches will resume services, but it could be a while before congregants are comfortable again exchanging hugs or handshakes. Those categorized as vulnerable populations—a large segment of our nation’s citizens—may be hesitant to interact with anyone who could be a potential carrier. In short, life will not be the same as we try to recover from this global disruption.
So what are we to make of this tunnel into which we were all unexpectedly thrust? Do we just pretend like we never experienced it, and move on with life as normally as we can? Do we sit in the tunnel, surrounded by its terrors, yet afraid of what the future will bring? We can learn from our experiences, to be sure, but is that the only reason why we travel these dark spaces of time? Do we travel through one tunnel to simply prepare for the next one?
If in this life alone we have meaning, our lives and our journeys are a fruitless waste of time, emotion, and effort. The journey through the tunnel only leads to a light that illuminates utter emptiness. Life has no more purpose in pain as it does in beauty and happiness. However, if life does have ultimate meaning, then it follows that our experiences in life have a purpose and that even our darkest tunnels can drive us to a meaningful end.
The Bible states “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). As a Christian, I believe that the ultimate purpose for this thing called life is to know God through His Son Jesus Christ (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20) and that He uses whatever happens in my life to help drive me to that purpose. Thus, whether it is before, during, or after this pandemic, I can seek God’s face to understand better His purpose for whatever He allows in my life.
Ultimately, at the other side of the tunnel is the light of God’s truth and goodness that shows He was there all along, and He will use my experience in the tunnel to help me know Him more. I may not always see His purpose while in the tunnel, but as I trust Him and seek to know Him through His Word, the light of His faithfulness shines brighter than the mere flickering light of an ending crisis. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He is good, faithful, loving, and true (Heb. 13:8; Ps. 119:68; 1 Jn. 4:16; Rev. 19:11).
And so, as we (hopefully) leave this COVID crisis, I can move forward into the light with hope in my soul, for the same God who allowed me to enter the tunnel will also lead me beyond the tunnel. His purpose in each step of my journey is to lead me into the joy of a deeper relationship with Him. I pray that I fully learn the value of this journey and that your light at the end of this tunnel is the hope and joy found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
By Esther McGuire