Discombobulated: What a great word! Just saying it over and over again out loud will probably bring a smile to your face! It is a much under-used word! What does it mean? Webster’s dictionary defines it as feeling confused and disordered. Many Americans right now feel discombobulated and you probably do as well! It is okay to admit “I feel discombobulated right now!” The Covid-19 situation has caused much discombobulation. Why? As Christians, it is helpful to examine why and not just simply try to push the feeling out of the way. Remember the Psalmist in Psalms 42-43 wrestles with his unrestful thoughts, asking “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” As he wrestles with his thoughts honestly, he begins to bring his unrest into submission to God who is his help and hope. Likewise, as we honestly address our discombobulation, we can bring it into submission to our God who is our help and hope! So why do we feel discombobulated?
First, we like control and right now many of us feel very much out of control. We can’t even get toilet paper! We are being told we can do this and can’t do this. We are no longer in control of where we go and the schedule we keep. Many are being told they can’t go to work while all are told they can’t go out to eat or gather together with friends. Not having control is very disconcerting for us and recognizing this is important. Perhaps why it is so disconcerting is because much of our concept of control is simply an illusion. The only one who is truly in control is God! Thus, we must humble ourselves under His hand and entrust ourselves to Him.
Second, we like comfort and avoid discomfort as much as we possibly can. This is an especially idolatrous area for Americans. We have large homes, nice cars, health insurance, and a massive choice of food! We have grown to like comfort and I am certainly no exception. Times I have been in inner-cities or in other countries, I have been uncomfortable. I remember sleeping in a poor area of Mexico with bugs crawling on me all night long. I was not comfortable! But, when comfort becomes an idol in our hearts, we sin when we don’t have it or we sin to get it. We must remember God has not called to comfort but to follow after Christ. Remember what Jesus said to those who wanted to follow Him! “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58). The call to follow Christ is a call to die to self (Mark 8:34-38).
Third, we want answers. The information day we now live in has produced in us an insatiable desire for answers. We want to know what is going on and why. In fact, many even demand answers, as if they are entitled to them! Yet, we must confess that the desire for answers is part of what it means to be made in the image of God. As humans made in God’s image, we have the ability to reason, to think, and to plan. So, we can recognize that wanting answers is part of what it means to be made in God’s image. But we also must remember there is only One who has all the answers and we are not Him! God alone has all the answers and therefore when we do not have the answers, we must entrust ourselves to God who does.
Fourth, we want certainty. We want to know that when we wake up in the morning, our home will still be there, our family will still be there, our job will still be there, and the things we enjoy doing will still be available to us. We want to know our health will stay the same and the health of those we love will stay the same. However, nothing is certain. In fact, this is one of the great downfalls of sinful humanity! Peter writes in II Peter 3:4, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” In other words, sinful humanity thinks nothing will change! Yet, history has proven that things are always changing. The desire for certainty isn’t necessarily a wrong desire. We just often desire certainty in the wrong things! Thus, we must cling to the things that are certain; God’s Word, God’s promises, the Gospel, and love of God. There is a reason God is regularly called our Rock! “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
Fifth, we desire fellowship. This is one of the most difficult things we are experiencing right now. God has made us with a deep desire and need for each other. This season is showing us how true that is! Again, this is part of being made in the image of God! The Triune God exists in fellowship! In the Garden, God explicitly said, “It is not good for man to be alone!”. Hebrews 3 warns us that sin festers in isolation and it is regular fellowship that keeps our hearts from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. We need each other and not having fellowship readily accessible is challenging, grievous, and lonely. Thus, in this time, we must use whatever means are available to us to continue to pursue fellowship, even if it is not in the fullness we are used to experiencing. We also must remember that we have fellowship with God through Christ and must therefore strive after Him all the more in this time! We are never alone!
Finally, we want to know the outcome. Questions float regularly through our minds such as, “Will I get sick?”, “How many will die?”, “What will the economy do?”, “Will I lose my job?”, or “How long will this last?”. I have seen many headlines touting to project outcomes and I have purposefully ignored those articles. We don’t know the outcomes and thus to try and speculate what they will be only breeds further uncertainty, false hopes, and fear. How many times have we been told the outcomes by experts, only to discover later how far off they were in their projections? There is only One who knows the outcomes and that is our sovereign God! Isaiah 46 reminds us that God alone declares the end from the beginning! Only God knows the outcomes! And (don’t miss this) the most important outcome He has shared with us.
There is coming a day when the Lord Jesus will return (I Thess. 4:15-18). He will gather His people to Himself, we will be given resurrected bodies, sin and death will be defeated, and we will be victorious with Christ (I Cor. 15). We will dwell for eternity in the new earth with our Lord and Savior, free from suffering and death, in perfect fellowship with God and one another (Rev. 21-22). We may not know the outcome of Covid-19, but by God’s grace, we know the outcome of history! And we should note, that when Scripture reminds of the outcomes it tells us things such as, “Comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:18), “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” (I Cor. 15:58), and “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37). Yes, we feel discombobulated! But let us submit this to the Lord and hold fast to our God who is our Rock!