“I wish none of this had happened.”

In Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo laments over a burden he wasn’t supposed to bear, traveling a path he didn’t plan. Gandalf tells him many have felt that way, but “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”[1]

That’s a fictional story. This is real life and I’m sure many of us have said, “I wish none of this had happened.” What are we doing with the time we’ve been given?

We’ve been in our homes for over a month, and before COVID-19, many of us would’ve enjoyed thirty days at home. But we didn’t plan this, and people are sick, many are dying, and this time seems uncertain.

What happens when life isn’t what we hoped, or we’re thrust into a situation we didn’t plan, or our dreams crumble? Grief, fear, and anger can overtake us. It can cause us to question ourselves, our goals, and even question God.

I have felt like this before. But I learned that even though my plan didn’t turn out the way I thought, God was with me in the midst of my pain, and He had a beautiful plan for me in the middle of the storm. If I could just push past my very real feelings and trust Him through the pain and doubt, I would see Him and see He was with me making a way!

The disciples, I’m sure, felt that way when Jesus died. They saw Jesus’ victory different than the way of the cross. He died and they fled, and on that Sunday morning when Jesus arose, they were hiding behind locked doors, afraid of being found, and believing Jesus was dead.

John 20:19-23 shows us Jesus’ first appearance to His disciples. Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” As He shows them His wounds, they are overcome with joy. Why? Nothing changed on the outside of that locked room. The Jewish leaders were still looking for them. But something changed inside the room. They saw Jesus and all fear was gone.

Again, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” I believe Jesus said this twice to make a point. It was more than, “Hello guys! I’m here.” He said it again to bring them assurance, to bring peace to their spirit. He wanted them to leave that place of hiding, but they couldn’t do that full of fear. They needed His peace.

So, what are we doing with the time we’ve been given? Though we can’t change what is going on around us, we can have that same peace by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s press in, push past our fear, our anxiousness, and even our doubt, and ask Jesus to breathe His peace on us.

Take courage! Jesus lives! He is with you. Peace be with you.

[1] Tolkien, FotR, The Shadow of the Past

Kim Burnell is Assistant Campus Pastor at The Life Church Winchester. She’s passionate about God’s Word, people finding life in Jesus, and encouraging others along life’s journey. She’s been married to her high-school sweetheart, Ed Burnell, for 36 years. They have 5 children and 8 grandchildren, and she says when this social distancing is over, there will be snuggles for days!