By Elizabeth Prata
One of the hardest things in life is not to know what’s coming down the pike. Unpredictability can be enjoyable at times, of course, and it’s sort of a given in life, but it’s different when you don’t know if something bad out there will befall you. That situation usually just leads to stress. … The most stressful scenario is when you really don’t know. It’s the uncertainty that makes us anxious. The same is likely to apply in many familiar situations, whether it’s waiting for medical results or information on train delays.” This is because it’s easier to plan for the future when you know what the deal is, even if it’s bad. (Source)
We are living through a time during the COVID19 pandemic situation where we are facing an uncertain future because we’re fighting an invisible enemy. A microscopic virus is taking down people, economies, hospitals, nations. Hospitals have had to function differently. Schools have had to operate differently. Universities have had to operate differently. Grocery stores operate differently. All the different ways of operating had to be developed on a dime. It’s a constantly evolving situation.
We have been told to remain in our homes, self-isolating, or social distancing, for an unforeseeable number of days, weeks, or even months. One deadline approaches for our quarantine to be finished and they extend it. Again and again. The way of life has changed dramatically and we don’t know when it will end or if we will ever get back to the way we used to live.
The uncertainty is a major stressor for many people.
I think about the disciples the morning after Good Friday. Jesus has died. He has been taken down from the cross, the shameful and gory cross, and wrapped in linen and laid in a grave. (John 19:40-41). A great stone had been rolled in front of it, seemingly sealing the end of the matter. (Matthew 27:62).
Jesus had said, “It is finished” but the disciples didn’t know yet what that meant. They no doubt said to each ‘it is finished’, shaking their heads and mourning in tears. The ministry, the crowds, the lessons, the parables, the wonder, the miracles, the hope. All finished. Only uncertainty remained. What will happen next? What do we do now?
Suddenly, life was different. Most of the disciples had scattered. They did not understand the scripture, that He must be raised from the dead (John 20:9). The few faithful ones left the scene of the cross and gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jews. (John 20:19). They knew they were being hunted. They disbelieved Mary’s report of seeing Jesus, thinking it foolish talk, nonsense. (Luke 24:11). Not understanding, fearful, demoralized, dismissive, tearful, they had isolated themselves from society, facing an uncertain future and grieving heavily. What must they have been saying to each other? What did the future look like to them under such uncertainty? The way ahead was unclear and they were in a fog of emotions.
They did not know that Sunday was coming.