“He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.” ― Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
My paperback contemporary English edition of Revelations of Divine Love is practically shaped like a ball. It’s been in numerous backpacks and purses. It went with me everywhere for years. It’s obviously been waterlogged at some point. But reading it has given me so much comfort through some really bad times. So, as 2020 continues with the pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes and a wild-eyed presidential election, I wonder what Julian might have to say to us today?
We have certainly been tempested, travailed and dis-eased (and diseased). Our lives do not look like they did in February of this year and they probably won’t 100% look like that again. Like the specter of terrorism arrived on September 11, 2001 and has never left, the specter of the Great Pandemic of the year 2020 may remain for the rest of our lives.
But Jesus did tell us one thing. He told us through Julian and He told us through the Bible that we will not be overcome. Whatever happens in this life, we will not be overcome!
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.―John 16:33, NABRE
Jesus was tossed about by storms in this world, but in the end He conquered them once and for all in His passion and resurrection. In these times full of uncertainty where we are all weary and anxiety abounds, we have a Rock to rest on who is Jesus Christ. Even if we can’t get into a church as the pandemic rages in our city, we can rest in our homes courageous in the hope that our Savior lives. Jesus loves and cares for each one of us under the shelter of His wings. We may suffer, but we will never be overcome.
He promises us that today and every day. It is true that life may never be the same. Things may get worse before they get better―we are certainly not promised that things will always be easy. However, Jesus will be with us through it all. We will never be overcome because He overcame. It may be hard to trust in that promise. But there is an antidote. The remedy is silence and prayer―when the din outside is so overwhelming―to help ground us in Jesus and His trustworthiness.
Bethanie Ryan is a work-at-home mom with a young son. She received her MA in Pastoral Ministry from Aquinas Institute of Theology. She has been published in Ignitum Today and Patheos. In addition to Taming the Wilds, she currently writes for FemCatholic, CatholicMom and Medium. She is a misplaced Missourian in New York.