Change is an adjustment. For many of us, this change came to us abruptly. I, for one, was on spring break during mid-March. I was happy to be on break and have a week to relax at home with my family. At the end of the week, however, I was told that I would not be returning to campus for in-person classes. As a senior about to graduate in May, I was devastated. Not only did I have to adjust to no longer seeing my classmates, my professors, or the organizations I have been a part of for all four years of my college career, but I also had to adjust to living with my family back at home, as I have been living on my own since the beginning of college.
I am not alone in this situation. I am one of thousands of students who are left to finish the semester online and will even participate in a digital graduation ceremony. Many college students are struggling with the idea of moving out of their dorms without being able to make those final memories, without being able to hang out with friends, and without saying goodbyes to classmates. Lots of students also have jobs on campus that have been taken away.
This Is All in God’s Plan
Although we have no control over this situation, we have to remind ourselves that in our everyday life, we are never in control of our lives. We must put our faith in God’s hands: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). This is incredibly powerful. The only way to overcome the world and its problems is by putting our faith in God. No matter what uncertainty and fear form the evil that surrounds this whole situation, God is with us.
Turning to God in this time may look different for different people. In our time of disappointment, fear, and outcry, our feelings may be all over the place. In Psalm 102:1–2, the afflicted psalmist cries out, “Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to You! Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress!” Don’t be afraid to cry out to the Lord with whatever emotions you have. Grief. Anger. Sadness. Fear. He will listen.
This “New Normal”
Things like weekly campus Bible studies are cancelled. Extracurricular activities are not meeting anymore. Favorite restaurants, stores, and coffee shops have closed their doors to the public. No more hangouts with lots of laughs being shared and perspectives being exchanged. Things that students looked forward to every week are gone. Any sense of normal has been locked away for all of us.
But it is not all darkness. As we students adjust to this new “normal,” we are finding new ways to interact with others while still staying home. Joining in Bible studies and community groups via online platforms is important for our spiritual well-being. Being able to connect with God in this time of uncertainty and having those friends in Christ brings us closer together.
Checking in with friends, family, and congregation is important in this time also. If we concentrate only on our tasks, things can get boring. Reaching out with a funny picture or a text to let others know we are thinking of them is meaningful and appreciated. We have to remind ourselves that God knows exactly how this is all going to play out. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Comfort of Christ
As I finish my semester online, I can’t help but look at my calendar and see all the events that had been planned to fill the days ahead. I know that I will not have the graduation ceremony I wanted or the end of my senior year like I had planned. I am, however, grateful for my health and faith in God in this time of crisis. It has comforted me in ways that I could not have found on my own. Change brings adjustment, but with the support of our congregation, family, friends, and especially God, we are not alone in this.
In our waiting, we need patience, hope, and trust. In Waiting by Sharla Fritz, we can