Wow. What a week.
Only a few days ago I was sitting at my desk in Lausanne, Switzerland, wondering how I should approach my mooting assignment on human rights and international law. Now I am 11889 metres above sea level and under four hours away from Brisbane International Airport.
Something came up
When choosing where to complete my exchange semester, I imagined that choosing Switzerland would mean peacefully living in a country that discussed international relations yet avoided all of the effects of real-world issues.
To say that things have been taking unexpected turns lately would be an understatement.
I didn’t particularly want to add to the discussion of COVID-19, but the precautions that countries all over the world are taking has completely interfered with my expectation of the next few months.
As a result of packing up and traveling home with such short notice and not enough sleep, this is my first chance to really process what is going on. For the last two years, I have had this abroad study in mind. After completing several trees worth of paperwork, I was finally there; at university in Switzerland, meeting new people, travelling to new places and using my French day-to-day. Everything was living up to my expectation of how this semester would go; until the coronavirus made news.
I don’t want my focus to be on the coronavirus, but I am really thankful that through this situation, I am able to see how God is in control, whether our expectation matches reality, or not.
Even good plans can change
Often when I think about God stepping in and taking our plans in a different direction, I assume that it is because the plans were not pleasing or honouring to Him.
At first, I was a little bit confused when the idea of returning to Australia early came about. As a result of putting so much prayer and thought into living overseas for six months, I knew that it was where God wanted me to be. Despite this confidence, I questioned if I had come to Switzerland out of my own will and was ignoring God’s intentions for me.
My other thought was, perhaps I should stay in Switzerland and endure the tests and trials that come along. All of these thoughts spun around in my head as I tried to articulate them to my parents over the phone.
I stumbled across Romans chapter 8, verses 31-39. It speaks of how we, through Christ, are more than conquerors and that nothing is able to separate us from His love. A pastor at my church once said something about this passage that opened my eyes to reality a little bit more. He said, “how can we be conquerors if there is nothing to conquer?”
These thoughts helped me realise that this coronavirus situation is not righting my wrongdoing; it is actually just part of the reality that Jesus told us about. As followers of Christ, we were never promised a perfectly blissful life. In fact, Jesus tells us that we will face difficulties during our time on earth.
“I have told you these things, so that in me may you have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Sometimes, even good plans change.
Because that is the reality of life on this side of heaven.
But with God, we can be comforted by the reality that God is in full control during these times.
Our reality as children of God
The general connotation of the saying “expectation versus reality” presents reality as the negative aspect. Admittedly, I have written from this same perspective thus far. However, I believe that as children of God, the reality that we are presented with far exceeds any expectation that we could imagine.
Steven Furtick, founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, has a series of short motivational podcasts that speak truth derived from the Word. One of my favourite’s is titled ‘I can handle it.’
This podcast gives us a reality check of what we are promised as followers of Christ. Considering the current situation of COVID-19 and how it is affecting the lives of people throughout the world, I think it is important to remind ourselves of the following points that Steven makes:
“Today is a new day. It will bring brand new blessings and brand new battles. But within every uncertainty, there is hidden possibility.”
“And my confidence is not in my circumstances. The Spirit of God is my supply.”
“I’m steady under pressure and ready for whatever cause whatever comes my way today, the outcome is; I overcome. Christ is in me. I am enough. I can handle it.”
“And He who called me is faithful. His strength in me is greater than any pain I feel or enemy I face. The promise of God is mine for the taking. Every plan He has made is guaranteed to come to pass.”
“So bring the battle. I’m ready now. I’ve got something for Goliath. I can handle it.”
“I’m not nervous about what’s next cause my eyes are on the throne. I trust the One who’s in complete control.”
“And whatever happens, I can handle it.”
Brittany Geoghegan is in her final year of International Studies at the University of Queensland. Brittany continues to explore her love for the people and places that God has made. While Brittany has always been a fitness enthusiast, she is excited for the opportunity to write as part of her creative endeavours.