The other evening I was playing a card game called Monopoly Deal with one of our daughters. It was a delightful time. As we played, I imagined the countless people worldwide who likely were doing something similar in this mandated downtime. I also thought about the massive numbers of people around the world who have no access to clean water, food, or any modicum of medical care as the virus spreads. This fact in combination with all the grief that is happening is soul crushing. All of this is agonizingly heartbreaking and I don’t know what I can do other than pray, pray, pray.
This is such a unique time, although there have been many similar times in history. There is no way to know what the future precisely holds or how things will play out. How things unfold in the immediate days ahead is unpredictable at best.
The other evening I needed a distraction so I played Yahtzee on a phone app. I’ve enjoyed the game for decades. It can be relatively mindless or it can bring back memories of studying probability theories in high school math classes so long ago. You may remember that the likelihood of rolling any one number on one die is 1 out of 6. The likelihood of rolling three dice and ending up with the same number on each is 1 out of 36. And the probability of rolling a Yahtzee in which all five dice match is 6 out of 7776.
The point of all of this is despite the uncertainty in the game of Yahtzee, at least you concretely know the likelihood of specific outcomes. With this virus we do not know with any certainty the probability of any exact outcome. Said another way, playing games in Las Vegas is clearer than the time we are in now, hence the angst I along with many others often feel.
Yet, in this tragic and very difficult time, we have a tremendous opportunity to work toward living as Jesus invites us to live and that is with a primary focus on the moment and the day at hand, rather than the uncertain future. In the midst of his talk known as the Sermon on the Mount, in chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” He said this in a broader discussion of worry.
His point. Focus on today. Pay attention to what needs to be dealt with today. Trust God and turn the future over to God. Easier said than done, you bet! Yet prayerfully I believe this is exactly what God is calling us to do, with God’s help. While this is much more challenging than the cliche of “stop and smell the roses,” the moment is where we live, where God is, and where life’s greatest joys are to be found.