By Elia King … “Hello, Mr. King? I’m sure by now you’ve heard the news that you did test positive for the coronavirus.”

In fact, I had not heard that news. We had been waiting for nearly two weeks for confirmation of what we thought to be the case. Although we had relearned to do just about every part of daily life with “extreme caution,” we suspected that the virus that had dominated global news networks and social media feeds alike had also infiltrated the ranks of our family. With a cornucopia of symptoms that all fell into the “yes” column, we visited a local clinic to have the furthest corners at the backs of our skulls excavated for samples to confirm or deny the presence of the virus. Blinking through stinging, watery eyes at stony faces safely quarantined behind hazmat shields, we were informed that the results could take up to a week  but could come as soon as 24-to-48 hours.

So we waited. And waited.

And waited.

In the time we waited, we battled our symptoms with recommendations and well-wishes from friends and family, garnering advice from medical professionals and Facebook experts alike. In between bouts of fevered sleep, I read everything I could find about what to expect when you’re expecting your COVID-19 test results to be positive. Mercifully, our kids shook their fevers and returned to “normal” in about three days. My wife and I each fought through our own symptoms for about two weeks before we started to feel like ourselves again.

And all the while we waited.

By the time our county health department called to follow up on the call from the state (which we never actually received), we had all recovered from our illnesses, taken our turn in “time out,” and had returned to work.

I share this story not to knock our county or state health departments—we have since learned that the demand for tests far outweighed both the supply of materials and necessary personnel—but to make a simple observation that I think we can all relate to at this particular moment, whether or not we have close personal experience with the coronavirus: the experience of waiting is almost never as painless as we hope it will be.

It could be waiting for test results. Or news about buying a home. Or plans for re-opening our churches and returning to “normal.” Or — and this is particularly true for those of us who claim “Adventist” as part of our tribe — the soon return of Jesus.

Waiting is hard. Waiting is painful. Waiting is almost never what we expect it will be.

A few years ago I wrote a song for our church to sing, and I would have never guessed the number of times the lyrics would connect with my own personal seasons of waiting:

In the fire
In the flood
Through the need and through enough
We say Jesus, You are Lord of all…

Those words might resonate with you again if you live in the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains right now. With wildfires in our backyard, many homes sit vacant as families for whom we care await the word that it is safe to return, even as clouds of smoke and the threat of returning dry weather keep us on our guard.

But as we wait, I am reminded that God cares for our communities and neighbors, for our families, and for each of us. Even as we endure circumstances that stretch our faith beyond what we thought possible…

Through our doubt and belief
When we cannot hear or see
We say Jesus, You are Lord of all.

Whatever you are waiting for at this moment—especially if you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel that is 2020—may you continue to find hope and comfort in the promise that we have in Jesus.

Elia King is a worship leader at Boulder Adventist Church.