There are a few ways to answer this question. In terms of the pandemic, New York is NOT going backwards. We’ve gone from worst to first, like the 1991 Braves. Unfortunately, the United States IS going backwards. Or is it? We have more cases, but fewer deaths; the infection is affecting more younger people than old. At first, the warnings were for people over 60; the new warnings are for people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. I’m in my 50s, so I feel like I’m in the sweet spot; all I have to do is avoid frat parties this summer, and I should be fine.
We can also answer this question in terms of emotion. Given new statistics, are we going backwards to anxiety and fear, or continuing to move forward in hope? The combined forces of summer and reopening make it hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Is it even possible to return to fear, given that every day has been so beautiful?
(Be sure to get outside!)
Now it gets tricky. Paul writes, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV). Paul is writing about leaving behind his life of sin, his own faults and failures, and moving on to perfection, to heaven, to God. But we can also apply this passage to our spiritual lives and attitudes in the midst of multiple crises. We can allow ourselves to be dragged backwards to doubt, or we can remember that our entire future is filled with God ~ not just heaven, but next year, tomorrow, one minute from now, one second.
Try not to be discouraged; take heart. God is still sovereign, and closer than a prayer.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past;
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul; the winds and waves still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.