A Dad’s Perspective During COVID-19

Written by Mike Yanof
Published on April 14, 2020

The alarm went off at 5 a.m. In the office by 6 a.m. Practice law until 2 p.m., then leave to coach seventh grade baseball, followed by varsity softball. Off the field to return home by 6 p.m. 

This was my spring routine until March 12. I loved it. My busiest and favorite time of year. What I lacked in sleep and leisure was fulfilled ten times over with purpose and structure. 

Today, I woke up at 7 a.m. Not from my alarm—I don’t set my alarm these days. I was awakened this morning by our youngest yelling “daddy” on the monitor. I’m on four-year-old duty this morning while Cynthia prepares for a podcast. I worked a little bit here and there, between breakfast, a morning cartoon, and watching JB ride his bike along the sidewalk. 

We’ve told our kids that someday, these are times they’ll look back on with appreciation. But if I’m honest, as a dad, husband, provider, coach, and man during these times, it’s hard to shake two feelings: disappointment and uncertainty. 

Disappointment 

I’m willing to sacrifice sleep and leisure during the spring season because I love coaching—helping players mature physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The likelihood of erased baseball and softball seasons is a huge disappointment. 

My work situation is also a disappointment right now. Travel limitations. Closed courthouses. A spacious law firm office replaced by a six-foot folding table in my bedroom.

Uncertainty

Each week it seems shelter-in-place orders are extended. When is the next time we’ll have freedom to roam? Go to the office? Eat at a restaurant? Shop?

The economic impact has already been felt. For my clients, justice comes through the courtroom. When courtrooms are closed, justice is delayed. Virtually every industry has been adversely affected by COVID-19. Is there any end in sight? Will the economy ever be the same? 

Instead of looking at sports’ scores daily, I now look at COVID-19 maps and statistics. How many new cases are in the United States? In Texas? In Dallas County? 

It’s easy to say these are minor obstacles. I am still working and healthy, comparatively much better off than so many in these times. That’s true. It’s easy to say generations before us fought in world wars, while we’re simply asked to comfortably sit at home and hang out for a while. That’s true, too. 

But let’s also have the freedom to admit these are trying times. 

Sure, there is an end to this somewhere down the road. But is the solution to disappointment and uncertainty simply time? Probably not. 

When God called the Israelites from Egypt, he called them to be different: “you shall not do as they do” (Leviticus 18:3). God is teaching me this—he has a similar call for us during these times. 

A call to be different. A call to act contrary to the world. A call to do something other than simply wait out the storm in disappointment and uncertainty.

From Disappointment to Gratefulness

The world’s cure for disappointment is satisfaction. If we just get what we want, we’ll be less disappointed and more satisfied. But two problems persist. 

First, seeking satisfaction rarely satisfies, for we always want more. It’s the problem John D. Rockefeller revealed when asked how much money was enough: “Just a little bit more.” Second, we’re not satisfied during times of disappointment. They’re the antithesis of each other. 

By contrast, in God’s Kingdom, the cure for disappointment isn’t satisfaction. It’s gratefulness. 

Gratefulness doesn’t make our problems go away, but it can erode disappointment even in the midst of struggles. Paul instructs us to, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He doesn’t say to give thanks when things go well. He directs gratitude in all circumstances, thanks despite circumstances. 

For me, gratefulness doesn’t focus on the disappointment of being stuck at home; it sees the almost miraculous way my wife runs our daily home. 

Gratefulness doesn’t see the obstacles of working each day; it sees the blessings of having work. 

Gratefulness doesn’t see a baseball and softball season lost; it sees how appreciative I am that my team is more talented than it has ever been and has a bright future worth planning and even waiting for. 

From Uncertainty to Trust

The world’s cure for uncertainty is control. If we can just get to a place where we can control our circumstances, the uncertainty will go away. Right now, Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that working for you?” 

Control of a certain future is an illusion; and tough times only make this universal truth more obvious. 

By contrast, the cure for uncertainty in God’s Kingdom isn’t control. It’s relinquishment of control by trusting God. Trusting the God of the universe. Trusting the God who created everything and knows the future before it happens. Trusting a Father who loves us enough to send his Son to die for us. During these uncertain times, what a relief that God is in control!

Jesus’s call is simply to follow him with everything we have. He asks us to leave behind our old stuff (even our very selves) and to follow him completely. This calling to follow him does not guarantee constant satisfaction or certainty. In fact, in this world, we will at times have trouble (John 16.33). But we’re to trust him even in troubling times and uncertainty. 

We are called to be grateful, even when things aren’t going our way. We are called to follow and trust Jesus, even more so in these uncertain times. It’s a lesson God is teaching me daily.

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Mike Yanof

Mike Yanof is a lawyer, coach, and Bible teacher. He practices law in Dallas at Lenahan Law Firm. He has taught young married couples at Park Cities Baptist Church for many years. On any given night or weekend, he's probably on a field coaching softball or baseball. He and his wife, Cynthia, have a 16-year-old girl, Kate, a 12-year-old boy, Brett, and a 3 year old boy, JB..

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