Students: How to Make the Most of this Season
I never wanted to explain to my 4-year old son Micah that his grandparents and all his friends couldn’t come to his birthday party. I never wanted to see the confusion and lack of understanding in his eyes when I told him, “there are a lot of people sick right now, and we don’t want anyone else to get sick, so everyone has to stay home.” I never wanted to have to stay home in isolation.
But we made the most of it. We decorated our house with balloons and birthday banners. We got him the toy he had been asking about for months. We assembled the toys his grandparents sent him. We made a sign for our front yard, asking people to honk as they drove by to wish him a happy birthday. We zoomed (is that a word now?) with family members while he opened presents and ate cake.
It would have been easy to complain and whine about all the things we couldn’t do for Micah for his birthday, but we didn’t. Instead, we put all of ourselves into making sure he had the best possible birthday. I’d be lying if I said that was easy to do. I had moments where I thought to myself, “what are we doing?” In the end, Micah had a great birthday and felt very loved. Mission accomplished.
Many of you find yourself in similar situations. Some of you have had birthdays where your friends and family can’t be there in person. Some of you were looking forward to events like Prom, only to have them canceled. Some of you had spring break plans that are now gone. Some of you are wondering how your graduation will look. Some of you just don’t know what to think right now.
In any situation, we can choose to complain, whine, and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can choose to make the most of our situation. As followers of Jesus, we know that we have an underlying joy that cannot be taken away (Galatians 5:22-23). Yes - we experience pain, disappointment, and loss. The truth is, happiness is an emotion that comes and goes, but joy is a state of being – It’s who we are. We should be people of joy. Joy means that despite our situation, we have hope.
Try asking yourself the following questions to help find joy, even in this difficult season:
What can I learn from this? (Psalm 25:4)
Often the way we learn how the Lord works is through our circumstances and how He ultimately brings us through them.
What could I do differently? (Proverbs 26:11)
Don’t do the same thing over again and expect a different result.
What has someone I respect done in a similar situation? (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Paul encourages his readers to imitate him as he imitates Christ. Sometimes the best advice we can get is to act like someone we know who is following Jesus.
How have I seen God’s love? (1 John 4:10)
The cross is evidence enough of God’s love for us, but it also helps to take a step back from a situation and look at how we can see God’s hand in it. What good can come from this situation?
How can I point people to Jesus? (1 John 3:16)
Few things help us embrace joy more than remembering the gospel, and remembering that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. If that was Jesus’ mission, it should be the mission of his followers too.
The current situation with the coronavirus pandemic is terrible. Unfortunately, it might get worse before it gets better. That said, we can choose to focus on what’s been taken from us, or we can choose to focus on the things that it cannot take from us. It’s ok to be sad and to grieve what you have lost. However, we can still be joyful as we grieve, knowing that God is in control, that the gospel is still true, and that “God works all things together for the good of those that are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).