Trusting the Lord in Every Circumstance

by Caleb Carroll

What’s up, y’all? Man, 2020 has been a ride so far. I remember at 12am, January 1st, I was in Mercedes-Benz Stadium worshipping with 65,000 other college students at Passion. I was thinking “this new year is gonna be huge and possibly the best year ever”…hey, I was at least half-right! An event so unprecedented – something that many thought improbable in this day and age – shook us to our core: for the first time in modern history, Alabama was absent from the College Football Playoff.

Oh, and then a global pandemic struck out of nowhere.

It seemed like all of a sudden, all of my plans went out the window. When spring break came, I went home straight into quarantine – my mom, a nurse practitioner, had just treated the second positive case of COVID-19 in the state of Alabama.  I began helping my dad, a worship pastor at our church in Athens, prepare services to stream online. My friends in Tuscaloosa were now scattered across the country and I couldn’t go see my friends in Athens because of social distancing guidelines. All of this started weighing on me, and one day I decided to drive down to the river so that I could get out of the house and clear my head while still staying socially distant from others. I remember sitting by the water and talking to God, when my phone rang – it was my parents telling me to come home right now. When I came back, my mom met me at the door and told me that my church’s children’s pastor – a man that had become a great friend and partner in ministry – passed away minutes before from a heart attack. I felt completely isolated, fearful for my family’s health and safety, and now shock and grief over the loss of a loved one.

My whole world went from having everything going right to seemingly everything going wrong in a matter of just a week.

Many of you probably share that same sentiment. Some of you had internships and study abroads suddenly canceled. Many of you saw graduation plans go up in smoke. None of us got the chance to genuinely say goodbye to everyone in person. As large of a college ministry as this is, some of us might have even had friends or family suffer from the virus itself. All of us have been affected by the pandemic in some way. And none of us could’ve imagined this happening just a few months ago. In the words of Paul Rudd: “Hey, look at us. Look at us. Who would’ve thought? Not me.”

The good news is, scripture is not silent about hard times. The author of Psalm 34:4 writes, “I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.” Isaiah 41:10 assures us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”. The OG Himself, Jesus Christ, says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” These are only just a few examples. All throughout the Bible, the Lord had one message when things got tough: trust in Him.

The Bible is pretty clear that no one is exempt from struggles here on Earth. Jesus’s entire life is the greatest example of this: from His birth in a barn to His excruciating death on a cross between two criminals. God didn’t promise us happiness or comfortable lives here on Earth and living the Christian life with those expectations always leads to disappointment. What He promises us instead is infinitely greater: peace in this life, and salvation for the next. God didn’t leave us alone down here. We have the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and guide us. And when we put our full, unconditional trust in God, struggles on Earth can only make us stronger. In Romans 5:3-5 Paul says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I want to challenge you, in the midst of all this chaos, to put your full trust in God. It’s not easy to do, especially if you’re a control-freak like ya boy right here. It’s hard to put your life in His hands when you don’t know what He’s going to do with it. But giving control to the Creator of the universe is the best security you can have. No matter what, God is always there to lead you through the storm. During this pandemic, I’ve been doing my best to trust God with my future. Am I happier now? Nope, I’ll be a lot happier when the world gets back to normal and we can have sports again. Happiness is temporary. But never in my life has my faith been stronger, nor have I felt more peace than I do right now.

Take this time to lean on God and be a light to others in this dark time. Now is great time to grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and others. And wash your hands. Please.

Love y’all and can’t wait to see y’all again. Man, I can’t wait to see what God does through us!