I know others have it worse, but…

A few weeks ago, my husband and I officially cancelled our planned holiday to Europe.

Globe showing Europe

Cancelling a trip to Europe need to be kept in perspective but that doesn't mean God doesn't care, says Elisabeth Carter. PICTURE: Christian Lue/Unsplash

We’d known for months that we’d almost certainly need to cancel, but we had to wait until it drew close enough for our airline to start offering full refunds for dates in November-December. Finally, after checking weekly for several months, they did. We submitted the request and the flights disappeared from our itinerary. The money has been returned to our bank account.

Just like that, something we had looked forward to for years was not going to happen. Another COVID casualty.

"I do keep the cancellation of my holiday in perspective. Believe me, I am far more concerned about death and suffering that I am about travel. I know others have it worse. But I’m not going to deny that I am a bit sad. And though I think God would want me to view this cancelled holiday with an eternal perspective, I also don’t think He would deny me a small sense of disappointment."

Now, I realise how this sounds. I know I sound spoiled and privileged to be mourning a European holiday when so many people have lost their lives, their incomes or their loved ones.

I do keep the cancellation of my holiday in perspective. Believe me, I am far more concerned about death and suffering that I am about travel. I know others have it worse.

But I’m not going to deny that I am a bit sad. And though I think God would want me to view this cancelled holiday with an eternal perspective, I also don’t think He would deny me a small sense of disappointment.

Many of us have had our plans changed by COVID, even if we haven’t been sick or lost our jobs. I know so many couples who have had to postpone their weddings, or go ahead without their friends. Others have been forced to stay in jobs they were planning to move on from because the job market is so volatile. And most people I know have had at least one thing they were looking forward to cancelled – birthday parties, concerts, festivals, holidays, family gatherings.

In one sense, these things are trivial. But in another sense, they are not, because they matter to us. And because they matter to us, they matter to God to.

I am comforted to know that the God of the universe does care that I am sad that my holiday got cancelled. After all, this is the God who considers it worthwhile to know the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), and who pays attention to when I sit or stand (Psalm 139:2). This is the God who knows my every thought, fear, worry and pain. He does actually care.

So, while I pray for this broken world, for healing and comfort and a cure, I won’t feel guilty for also praying sometimes for personal comfort in my disappointment. The wonderful thing about our God is that He doesn’t have a finite amount of space for our prayers. He has room in His arms for all our cares and burdens, no matter how big or small. 

I urge you, too, to run to God with everything you are feeling, whether you have been severely affected by the pandemic personally, or are just grieving the loss of life as we knew it. He has time and space for you.