Yesterday, S.C. Governor Henry McMaster ordered the closure of all public schools, technical colleges and universities in the state because of the increase of cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As a teacher and a parent, this one is hitting home today.

In all that is happening right now, God is still with us.

In a short period of time, our landscape has changed considerably. There’s a limit on the size of group gatherings. People are buying toilet paper like it won’t exist next week. Store shelves have been hit hard. People are isolating and self-quarantining and social distancing.

The students I teach now find themselves out of school until things change. I’m sure on some level they celebrate like it’s a snow day. But this is quite different. Some of them might be missing the meals the school provides, the safe place it offers, the listening ears of teachers and counselors who are there.

As a teacher, I’m missing interacting with my coworkers and the students already. I’m missing my sense of purpose in a job that I love. It is my mission and calling. And, this is only Day 1.

This morning, I woke up with a verse on my mind. It comes from Romans 8:28 and reads, in part, “In all things, God works for the good.” In the Old and New Testaments, God is called Emmanuel and that name means, “God with us.” Maybe, that’s the greatest promise at this moment.

Though I am feeling anxious today and I’m working to stay calm and not give in to fear, God is still with me. Though there are people who are suffering, some who have died and families who are grieving, God is still with us.

We might not see the good now, but it’s there. It’s the people who sacrifice self to help others who are sick. It’s the people who give food away instead of hoarding it at home. It’s those who are still working and making meals for school children. It’s teachers in online communities sharing lesson ideas with each other to lessen the load and help the children. It’s those same teachers who are more concerned about their students and their well-being than their own situations.

In the meantime, we should take a deep breath, stay calm and do what is necessary to get us through to the other side of this as quickly as possibly. And, we can hold on to the promise that no matter what, God is still Emmanuel. He is still with us.

Prayer: God, we pray for the uncertainty and the anxiety around us. Be with those who are sick and those who are recovering. Be with the families who have suffered loss. Be with us as we walk uncharted paths to get through this. In all of this, help us to know that You are still with us. Amen.