Last spring during one of my daughter’s softball games, some of the parents started calling out a little too much advice. “Eye on the ball!” one mom admonished. “You’ve got this!” several of the dads replied. “Focus!” “Relax!” “Straighten your shoulders!” “Bend your knees!” “Hit this one out of the park!” “Just try to make it to first base!” The suggestions kept on coming until, finally, the wise five-year-old who was the focus of this campaign gave the bleachers some serious side eye and shouted, “I’M DOING MY BEST, PEOPLE!”
The COVID-19 pandemic has advice coming at us from every direction. Whether it’s tips on becoming a more proficient homeschooler, ideas for staying in shape while your gym is closed, what to use to touch up your roots, whether or not to wear gloves to the grocery, or how to reply to a friend who thinks playdates are still okay, the experts are not short on suggestions.
Add to that all the emails coming from our kids’ schools, the reminders to schedule twice yearly dental appointments and register our offspring for soccer and piano lessons in the fall, and it can all be a bit much. If I see one more pop up ad encouraging me to use the quarantine to learn how to juggle knives or speak Norwegian, I swear, I’m just going to throw in the towel (if I can find a clean one anywhere in my house, that is).
This is an incredibly hard time we’re living through. It takes a lot of effort simply to get up each day and go through the motions of an even slightly normal life. I don’t know about you, but I’m running out of steam. Sometimes I just can’t give it my best. A lot of days, I can barely give it my worst.
Fortunately, the season of Easter has come and, with it, a reminder that we really don’t have to do anything. Not in any ultimate sense. Of course we have to feed our children, do our laundry, and pay our bills. As for the other stuff, though, the big stuff—stuff like hope, love, peace, and the future—God’s got that. The Resurrection shows us this. Think about the stories of the first Easter. Everyone was trying their hardest—especially the women, God love them, hauling all those spices to the tomb—everyone was trying their hardest to make the best of a terrible situation. As it turned out, though, they needn’t have done a thing. Resurrection happened, and without their help. It wasn’t the women and their ministrations that brought Jesus from the tomb. It wasn’t Joseph of Arimathea, who did rescue the body and arrange for a proper burial. It certainly wasn’t the disciples, most of whom had gone into hiding. Human effort had nothing to do with the Resurrection. It was all about the power of God—the power of God to make a way out of no way, to bring life out of death, to conquer evil with good. This is the essence of our faith. As the author of the First Letter of John puts it, “Not that we loved God, but that God loved us.” Or as Moses told the panicking Hebrews when they saw the Egyptian army chasing after them, “The Lord will fight for you and you have only to be still.”
Next week, I hope you can rest in this. Even as the demands for your time and attention increase while your patience and optimism wane. Even as other people’s blog posts suggest you should be teaching your children advanced origami and Swahili. God’s got this, and God’s got you. Resurrection happens, not because of us but in spite of us. So do healing and hope. So do grace and love. The Lord will fight for us, and we have only to be still.