It’s the little things in life, isn’t it. Those baby steps forward to realizing a dream. Friday we took one of those baby steps. I was out spending some time with my oldest daughter. We decided to take a walk-about in our favorite…Whitehouse Antiques (I’ve been watching a series called “800 Words” about an Australian writer living in New Zealand. Hence the Aussie phrase walk-about….I like it.). For those of you who are in the dark about this sweet little place, let me enlighten you. It is a conglomerate of booths inside a rather unobtrusive, green building with the simple words Whitehouse on the outside. This simple treasure filled happy place abounds with the most amazing farmhouse, antique, creative items that will leave you breathless…….that may be a bit excessively descriptive, but I do find I feel a little lightheaded with all the possibilities that are packed into every booth. Anyway, I have gotten sidetracked about the baby step we took on Friday. I strolled through the aisles, trying not to fall too deep in the pit of my “wants” when I saw them. Two perfectly matched, oversized nightstands painted the same color as my king size bed….also purchased from this glory land of repurposed treasures. My hand went to my throat,I had finally found what I have spent months, no, years really, trying to find. I quickly took a picture, held my breath as I sent it with a text to my sweet husband. I’m not gonna lie, I prayed. They were just the right price (at least I thought they were). But I knew, he would have to agree and I knew that might be my dilemma. It’s all in the timing, people. It’s all about the stars and the planets being aligned perfectly. That may seem a little dramatic, but I know the common answer I might get and I didn’t want to hear that today. I waited for his response. I start to feel a little warm as I anticipated his answer. Suddenly my phone rang. It was him. This couldn’t be good. I answered, bracing myself for his answer of “We should wait.” A little history here. We’ve been married for close to 33 years. And in those 33 years I have heard this statement so many times, that I have often found myself being rather sarcastic by telling him “we should wait” when he is talking about buying something like food or shaving cream. I know, I’m not proud of it. But this day was different. It was a monumental day. I heard him saying “Yes! Those look great, go ahead and get them before someone else does.” All I could say was “Really?” Then of course, that was quickly followed by “Okay! Bye!” And I hung up before he could change his mind. I walked quickly to the front of Whitehouse and bought those nightstands…..I was literally breathless! We were taking a long awaited baby step to my dream. My dream of decorating my room like one of those Pinterest pictures…..or as my Mom used to say “Like a magazine.” We picked up the nightstands on Saturday morning and brought them home. I was almost giddy. He was so enthusiastic. I quickly moved the small chest on my side of the bed that I bought for $40.00 about 15 years ago at a roadside junk store, then went to his side of the bed and moved, now brace yourself, the old Singer sewing machine cabinet that was turned around backwards and had been serving as his nightstand for the last 15 or so years. I won’t even go into what we used before that. We slid the new (to us) nightstands into place and stood back to admire our baby step. Then I heard my big guy say “I’ve never had a real nightstand before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like nightstand before the sewing machine cabinet” I laughed….but then realized, I don’t think I have ever had one either. We have been married for nearly 33 years and have never “decorated” our room before. We’ve bought new bedding and we bought a new bed and dresser about 24 years ago, graduating from his old dresser and my parents old bed. We had put it off year after year because we were busy raising our baby girls and there were other necessities needed. Besides, no one ever saw our room anyway. But now. Here we are with a new (to us) king size bed frame….painted off-white….a king size mattress we bought 4 years ago and now we have matching nightstands…also painted off-white. We are very excited. Why, because it’s the little things….it’s the baby steps toward our dreams that make life fun. It’s finding re-purposed treasures in places you’ve been a hundred times. It’s realizing that the wait is worth it. It’s knowing that my big guy is in there right now, sleeping soundly with his new nightstand right beside him. It’s me realizing that sometimes “we should wait” for the right time.
It’s 11:15pm and I cannot sleep. I decided to get up and write down what is swirling around in my head.
Tonight I went to dress rehearsal for our Christmas at the Corner program at our church. Technically it is our second dress rehearsal, as last night we were joined by our children’s choirs, Surrender student choir and the Amazing Grey’s Senior adult choir. It’s been awhile since we’ve done this…..it seems like years. Last night and tonight, I felt joy swelling up in my heart as I listened and sang words celebrating Jesus and the reason for His coming to live with us, for the sacrifice He made for us on the cross, all because of God’s love for us. Joy. Everywhere I have turned in the last weeks, this word has resonated in the scriptures I have read and in the music I have listened to. But tonight I realized that the joy that was filling up that sanctuary was new. It was joy returning to our hearts and our lives. We were getting it…..we were feeling it.
A year and a half ago joy began to be sucked out of the world, and fear began filling the places in our hearts that were becoming void of joy. And we let it happen. Believers who knew what the joy of the Lord looked like, what it felt like and what it tasted like, began to allow fear to fill their minds and lives. No more smiling, no more touching, no more worshipping together. Slowly an ever present sense of fear began to fill all the places of our lives. It was being forced on us from every direction. It was mandated to us, along with masks and an endless flow of media. It divided us. And we let it happen. Churches became vacant and closed their doors. Yes, to follow the rules and to protect their people, but we also closed the doors to our homes. And we hid. Fearful. Joyless.
We unplugged from our faith families and we plugged into the world’s view of this new environment we lived it. We believed everything that was fed to us. We ended our relationship with gathering together. We stopped any kind of fellowshipping with other believers. And we waited for the new truth to tell us when we could be set free. And we continued to let it happen.
Christmas 2020 was dark. People still fearful. Masks still mandated. The world continued to yell at us. It was a joyless time that is normally a time of celebration for all believers to focus on the real reason for this season, the birth of the Messiah, our hope. We remembered the season, but we didn’t celebrate. We were still hiding. Joy seemed so far away.
But then something began to happen in 2021. We took off our masks. People began to turn off the continued rhetoric from the world, and we turned our minds to God. The almighty God, more powerful than any virus, stronger than any mask, more trustworthy than any government. We began to understand how to navigate through this time, respecting others and putting our faith and trust back where it belonged….in God.
But the effects of the last twenty-one months has taken it’s toll. People still struggle with fear. A fear they can’t shake. A fear that has now taken up residence in their hearts. People who once were faithful to church, now prefer streaming. People who once stood shoulder to shoulder with other believers lifting their voices in worship, now find themselves unable to return to their pre-pandemic way of life. For some, joy has left them.
But tonight, as I stood in the choir singing as loud as I could, I found great joy in singing about the birth of Jesus, about what He did for us on the cross, for the hope He gives us, for saving me and loving me that much! I looked at the faces around me and I saw the joy on their faces. Something warm and fuzzy was churning deep in my soul. Joy! I didn’t even know I missed it! I didn’t even realize that what the world had been trying to take away from us was the unexplainable, amazing inner joy that permeates the soul of a person when they understand who God is, what He did for them, how they can never do anything to be good enough to spend eternity with God except for asking for forgiveness and being completely forgiven. The joy of a Savior that gets us, and walks with us, and provides for us, and loves us unconditionally. Not happiness, people. But joy. Knowing He will never leave you or forsake you joy! Being made new and feeling it from the inside out kind of joy! The knowledge that God is in control kind of joy! Bigger than all the evil in this world kind of joy. Joy that can’t be adequately explained.
People. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior. If you have experienced that moment when you realized you were a sinner, and you confessed your sin and asked for forgiveness, then asked Jesus into your life forever and always. You know joy!
So I challenge all of you, break free, breathe in Jesus and experience the joy of this season! Our season. Our time to focus in on the reason for this season. Tell your children what real joy is. Tell your friends what real joy is. Tell your family what real joy is. Take yourselves to church this Sunday and surround yourself with other believers, sing as loud as you can, soak up the words the Lord gives your pastor, wear a mask if it makes you feel better, but find JOY once again.
“Weeping may spend the night (or 21 months) but there is joy in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5bContinue reading “Finding Joy Again”
It’s true, I want to go to church. Not the new social distanced, CDC guidelines church. I want to go and sit among my people, singing worship songs that stir the heart to lift my eyes to the heavens, hands raised, the Spirit moving in and around all who are there, worshipping the Almighty God. I want to feel the love from people I’ve known for years. People who have walked with us in this journey with God. People who I’ve knelt at the altar with, hands clasped together, tears dropping on the carpeted steps as we pray together over heart issues, brokenness, sickness or just for a fresh touch from the Savior. I want to sit and listen to the pastor, called by God, share the Word and the message God has given him for us. I want to mingle with my people, hugging them, holding hands, touching faces, smiling and laughing and just generally enjoying a warm fuzzy from all the love! It’s been five months since I have sat with these people. We’ve all tried to stay connected, but it has been more difficult than we anticipated. Heck, harder than we could have imagined, because we never would have imagined this forced isolation.
Last Sunday, I went to church with my daughter and her husband. They attend another church that has been having in person services for weeks. They had a staff member that had Covid19, but it was contained and he had not been around any other staff and he quarantined for the two weeks. Anyway, as I entered, staff and volunteers wore masks, but people were happy and talking and laughing. We were directed to a row of chairs that were social distanced, as directed by the CDC guidelines. People removed their mask as they settled into their seats. When the music began to worship. It was so sweet and genuine and heartfelt. This wasn’t my church, but these people were still my people. They longed for gathering together, just like me. They needed this corporate worship, just like me. They needed to sit among their people, just like me. Suddenly, the craziness of the outside world began to slip away. At first, I truly struggled to sing out. I was trying to soak it all in. It was almost difficult to relax and really allow myself to worship. I closed my eyes and allowed my other senses to absorb it all. And then it happened, I sang out! The wall around me collapsed. The cloud of frustration, of anxiousness, of the continuous onslaught of media, it all slipped away. I found myself smiling for no apparent reason. Soon the pastor stood before us and shared the Word. I was still smiling during the entire sermon. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but I truly did not care. I was sitting among my people. I only knew about eight people in the room, five of which were my family, but I was with my people. People who are believers. People who put their faith in God. People who are family because of their faith. People who, just like me, need to gather together and worship. I was still smiling when we left. I hugged my daughter and her husband and headed home…..still smiling. I was so happy. I felt like I could breath.
I believe that many of us feel like this. Like we are holding our breath. No way did we ever imagine the first time we heard Coronavirus or Covid19, that our churches would be closed down for five months and counting. aWe has no clue that we did would be controlled by outside sources telling us how we could do church. That a virus would create such a sense of fear, we would willingly back away from meeting together, from hugging, from standing any closer than six feet to each other. Five months. Can you even wrap your head around that for just a moment. During these five months we’ve seen through our tv, computer or phone screens, things happening across our nation that have just piled on the fear. Racial unrest, rioting, protesting, looting, violence, mudslinging, politicians stirring the pot, media reporting and lying to us, all causing division and fear right and left. When normally we could stand in a room together as believers and hear truth spoken, bowing and praying together for wisdom and strength and healing, now we are scattered. We all have tried desperately to stay connected through livestream and Zoom. It is so hard. People with small children find it difficult to try and experience worship this way. Too many distractions. Teens are drifting away and choosing not to join Zoom gatherings. Adults who haven’t gathered are trying to stay faithful, but are finding other things to do on Sunday mornings with their families. I wonder, if we are ever able to gather together again as a church, will there even be that many people who will gather? Five months is twenty Sunday’s with no church. My aunt once told me it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So will it take only 21 Sundays for people to form new habits and not make church a priority anymore?
I don’t want this to sound like church is the most important thing. Because I know that the most important thing is God and serving Him, and sharing the the gospel whether we are able to attend church or not. But we humans are needy and we need to be with our people and not isolated. I trust God. I know He’s using this for His glory. We just have to remain faithful to Him. I just don’t want to be trusting people who have their own agenda and who will manipulate people, even an entire nation, to be able to control them. With all the unrest and division, the time we need to gather the most to find strength and encouragement has been taken away.
So. I will continue to pray. I will continue to watch livestream from our church. I will continue to Zoom with our Lifegroup. I will continue to study His Word. And, I will go to church with my daughter and her husband on Sunday mornings.
It’s been three months since I have blogged. Nothing much has changed in our world. Coronavirus is still stirring around our nation and making people fearful. Masks are a huge controversy – are they helpful? are they hurtful? Who knows for sure! But now we’ve added a new dynamic to our current situation, racial unrest. While it has been around since the beginning of the human race, and at times we have definitely missed the mark as a country, and yet the country we live in now is a better place than it was 50 years ago, racial unrest in our country has opened the door for people to do things that, honestly, will have no positive affect on any racial injustice, but will only be seen as destructive behavior. Destructive actions never result in positive results. The actions we see splashed across the news and social media have invited dishonest, narcissistic and evil people to jump on board both physically and financially to promote their own agendas, not to make this country a better place. It is quite frustrating to watch. While we all watched, in horror, as George Floyd was treated completely inhumanely, and I know no one who wouldn’t agree that the officer needed to be held accountable, the retaliation has spread across the country as quickly as the virus of the 2020 Pandemic. The actions that followed against people and their personal property and businesses was unnecessary. The defacing and tearing down of national monuments and statues is shameful. Why can’t people just come to the table with their ideas of making this world a better place, discuss it, logically evaluate how to make the changes, willing to compromise on both sides, not try to be unreasonable or unrealistic and come to an agreement to agree and implement processes that will satisfy both “sides” and begin a new era. (I believe that may be a run on sentence right there!!!). Destructive behaviors only lead to other actions that eventually hurt people and make for a violent and unsafe environment to live. Many people, I think, are sick of “the sides”. There should be no sides on this subject. Racial issues should not be issues at all. People should all be treated equally, with kindness, with integrity.
I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know if this is the new normal. I don’t know if this is “end times” full on. I don’t know if all this is going to go all “bad futuristic movie with splintered factions wearing bad clothing choices and looking as if they haven’t had a bath in about ten years, or if we are going to wake to planes dropping enemy shoulders from the sky to take over our country”. I do know that God is in control. It’s not like we haven’t had His Word to read. If you turn on over to Revelation, it gives you the heads up on how it all ends. It’s all very poetic and filled with symbolic descriptions of how it will all go down. But it is there. Not to mention the other writers of God’s Word that hinted prophetically to the way God would wrap this whole Earthly era up.
We all agree that, for the US anyway, we are experiencing things we haven’t experienced in the last few generations. Maybe the much older generation still hanging around can tell stories of shortages, sickness, shut-downs and other hard times, but from the 60’s forward, we’ve pretty much been on fast forward till here we are in 2020. While we are social distanced in all areas of life, technology has us connected. So apart, yet connected. But that connection is interrupted and influenced by so many outside sources that we are confused about what the truth is. Are you anxious? Are you afraid? I can say, without blinking, I am not afraid or fearful. I may be a wee bit anxious, but only because I want to be clear if or when I should be doing anything to prepare. But that’s another blog.
There is no need for fear. God is with us. If you are reading this, and things I have said make no sense. If you find yourself struggling with fears. If you walk around with an overwhelming sense of anxiousness about the future. You can find peace. It begins with a repentance. We have to acknowledge we are sinners. We have to understand there is nothing we could do to earn forgiveness. It is acknowledging we are a sinner and realizing that we can’t do anything to pay for that sin, that is the beginning. It is believing that Jesus is the Son of God, sent to be born of a virgin, to live among us, to spend 3 years sharing the good news, paying the ultimate sacrifice with His life and blood on the cross for our sins to be forgiven, and then rose on the 3rd day just as prophesied! He then ascended to heaven to be with His Father and sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in all who believed, repented and were baptized in His name. Grace. Unmerited favor. God loved us so much, that He sent His only Son to die for us, so that we could be made clean, and that we could spend eternity with Him.
It’s been a little over two weeks since I have blogged. I think I’m out of the honeymoon phase of this quarantine life. I have spent a lot of time being quiet over the last two weeks. I am finding myself being very introspective. And. I’m tired of talking about the quarantine life. I just want normal to come back. I’ve been a little anxious that what I once knew as normal will never be normal again. Already words like quarantine, social distancing, physical distancing, pandemic, sheltering, Zoom and Google Duo have become a normal part of our conversations. I just read about something called “chunking”, yeah, look it up, it involves our brains and processing enormous amounts of information. It’s a real thing. All this while celebrities try to console us with “We’re all in this together” from their million dollar homes and high-rise apartments, like they can even relate to middle income America! We can’t go out, we can’t go to the beach (legally) and we can’t go to church. So I guess I went dark after April 7th, my last post. My heart wasn’t up for writing more encouragement. My house arrest with my big guy, the love of my life, had ceased to feel like “fun”. I mean, it’s not horrible, but 24/7 with a 6’4″ guy who loves to push my buttons (sometimes) has made me just get in the car a few times and drive around. Not his fault, but mine, for allowing myself to let all of this press in and mess with me.
Then, it happened. God stepped in….and told me to stop my pouting. He brought me to a familiar verse….one that most of us know. “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10. I know you are smiling and nodding your head at the obvious meaning of these eight words. But wait. When I sat with my Bible in hand, staring at those words, I actually asked God “What the heck, God, I know this verse, I get it, you’ve orchestrated events that have forced us all to stop with the busy lives and slow down.” But, in His patient and gentle way He deals with this hard headed child of His, He patted me on the head and spoke gently to my heart.
He showed me that He led me to this verse, not to tell me to stop going, going, going and not to show me that He was depriving me of “fellowshipping” with my peeps. No, it isn’t about physical movement at all. He wanted me to sit, and still my mind. To stop thinking of something else to do around my home while quarantined. To stop watching movies. To stop texting my friends that I was over all this. To stop mullygrubbing (yes, that is a real word). To allow my mind to slow down and focus on Him. Be still. And know. That I am God. Yes, I knew this. But I needed to breathe deeply, to experience rest, to listen to His voice, to read His Word, to worship Him. And I am. I have been quiet for eighteen days. Yes, I have slowly worked on and finished a couple of projects. I have slept until He got me up. I have sat quietly on the couch and listened to worship music. I have sat on the porch and just enjoyed the late afternoon breezes. I have stopped myself when I begin the onslaught of self-condemning thoughts that often run around in my head. I’ve thought a lot about what I need to write. And I am waiting quietly for His answers, His guidance. He has a plan for me. Maybe I’ve been so busy, in my head, with trying to figure out the how, the why, and the when, that I have been unable to hear His voice.
So, I’m not saying this whole Coronavirus craziness is just for me. But I am saying that I am learning in the midst of forced isolation to listen to His voice. I haven’t figured it all out, yet. But I know that I will continue to “Be still” and listen until it is clear what He wants me to do.
I still want to go to the beach, I still want to hang out with friends, I still want to hug people…..but I will take this time to understand what it means to “Be still.”
Today I was reading through a study I have been doing for some time in Ephesians, when I read something that I know I have read plenty of times, but it echoed over and over in my mind. The text referred back to verse in Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Or basically the mouth speaks what the heart is full of…..I sat back against the couch and chewed on this thought. A verse came to mind in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Our hearts are the epicenter of who we are. We can change our looks, our location, and our language, but at some point the truth of who we are, which lies within our hearts will flow out of our mouths. The truth will be known.
During this time in the world we live in, when we are quarantined, isolated, uncertain, the truth of who we are will be revealed in what flows out of our mouths. Sometimes anxiousness will cause us to allow frustrations to escape through our words. Sometimes we speak without thinking. But it is then that the truth of what lies deep in our hearts will cause us to stop, ponder our words and realize we have spoken with harshness or anger. It is then we step forward and apologize, ask forgiveness, and then ask God to forgive us and help us to think before we speak! But I believe, also, that those that know of God, but don’t have a true relationship with Him, will be revealed by what proceeds from their mouths.
It has taken me 59 years, but I am finally learning to “not” say what first comes to mind. I haven’t perfected this skill yet, but I find myself thinking about what I am about to say, and deciding to just say nothing. You may have already conquered this skill, but I have struggled with it my entire adult life. I sometimes over share, I sometimes speak what comes to mind, and I sometimes say what truth is about a particular situation whether it is necessary or not. And I confess I haven’t always asked God if I should say something before it is released from my mouth. I have prayed and asked God to help me in this area and I realized a few months ago that I was thinking before I allowed something I was thinking to escape my lips. I wanted to say “Hey, I was about to say something, but God said no and I didn’t!!!” But decided to keep it to myself! I want to walk in a way that honors God. Whether in the middle of a pandemic or living in what used to be normal life. I remember hearing a former music pastor tell the choir I was a part of, to ponder in our hearts our questions, as he was giving us instructions. So I am trying to ponder my thoughts before I release them! But I digress from the verse that I first shared.
During this time, when we have so much time, ponder what is in your heart. Think about the words that flow from your mouth. Do they honor God? Are they uplifting? Are they encouraging? Are they loving? Are they beneficial? I want to encourage you to examine your heart. Determine whether He is the Lord of your heart, your thoughts, your life. I am taking time to do the same. We are spending time with family and possibly friends 24/7, which could be a stressful time, maybe we need to isolate to a quiet place (even if that means hiding in your closet) and allow Jesus to minister to our hearts and minds, and reveal what is in our hearts.
Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
I don’t know about you, but I feel the need to escape the constant onslaught of COVID19 information. I’m over this being the topic of conversation and media 24/7. I want to sit with friends and drink coffee (or tea) and talk about something else….anything else! I want to drive to the beach and enjoy the waves crashing on the beach. I want to go to church!!!!
With the constant broadcasting of information and conflict over COVID19 social or physical distancing, statistics of state by state cases and deaths, and whether to have partial or complete quarantining, I have to wonder if there is anything else going on in the world!!! Or is there something going on that we don’t know about.
At any rate, this morning I ran to scripture for encouragement and truth. And there it was, the best wisdom possible….God’s Word telling me to let my mind stay on Him. He is my everlasting rock. He is trustworthy. So simple, but so true.
I am choosing to take a step away from the constant blasting of pandemic information and to focus back on regular life. (Whatever that is right now). I will let my mind be on His Word and His character. I will let other things occupy my thoughts other than the uncertainty that is shaking our country.
Wherever you are right now, whatever you are doing, take a deep breath. Read these words in Isaiah written way before 2020, but so applicable for us to cling to right now. Allow His perfect peace to wash over you and spread through your spirit like a warm blanket. Snuggle up in it and enjoy some time with Him.
Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Nor anything else in all creation”. Those words really jumped out at me today. I’ve read these verses so many times. They are familiar to you as well, I am sure. I have always found comfort in the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing could separate me from my relationship with God. Nothing I could so personally. Nothing in this world. No disease. No virus.
We live in a world of uncertainty. More than ever we are all feeling that truth. We have modified our lives to avoid contracting a man made disease that has been released on us like some modern weapon. We are functioning in a new normal. It changes almost daily. But “it” still cannot separate us from the love of God.
We are more than conquerors. Because no matter what happens neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God. We do not have to fear anything today, nor anything to come. We do not have to tremble at the powers that rule over us. We can know the peace that He offers.
So today. Today close your eyes and take a deep breath. Breath in God’s love and release all the tension, doubts, fears, weariness, anxiousness and concerns. Allow the love of God to wrap around you like a warm blanket. Accept His love. Be secure in His love. He is walking through this with us. Trust Him.
You didn’t miss anything, I haven’t posted in 3 days. AND I shortened the title. I’ve been thinking. Thinking about what else I can say that hasn’t already been said. As I lay in bed last night, familiar scripture ran through my mind. Psalm 23. I thought about the meaning of these words in light of today. And I was comforted by the sense of peace that these verses bring to a trembling world. We tremble when we go out. People in our medical facilities tremble as patient after patient come in with this rampant virus. Mamas tremble as they watch their babies playing in a shut down world, and they consider the measures they will take to protect them. Fathers tremble as they think about job loss and providing for their families. The elderly tremble as the news repeatedly report that the elderly are at the highest risk. Cancer patients tremble as they know their compromised immune systems could not fight off these germs. Pastors tremble for wisdom on how to shepherd in this strange time and how to minister when we are told to social distance ourselves. Police and Fire Fighters tremble at every call they have to make as to whether they will be infected, or worse, take germs home to their families.
Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Let me stop right there for a moment. We can rest in the truth of a shepherd who will provide our needs, and while we are all disconcerted over confinement to our homes, maybe it is God “making” us lie down in green pastures. A time to be still and to rest in Him and not be fearful. Allow Him to restore your soul during this time.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
This time may feel like we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We may not have the virus ourselves, but the affects of the spread of this virus is casting a shadow over everything in our lives. But we do not have to fear, for HE is with us. His rod and staff comfort me. The rod represents His authority and the staff represents His guidance in our lives. Knowing these two things, His authority and His guidance in our lives do comfort us. As His children, His hand is active in our lives, guiding and leading us.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
God’s provision in our lives is dependable. We don’t need to panic as many people are doing. We do, however, need to be sensitive to the needs of others and help when we can. Because we have more “free time” we can spend more time seeking Him. We can focus on His will for our lives. We can get a perspective not cluttered with the busy-ness of events, entertainment, and all the go-go-go that we experience in our everyday lives. And then we can shout as loud as we can, for ourselves and those around us “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and then I will camp out in the house of the Lord….FOREVER!” (I don’t know why I added the quotes there, because I obviously paraphrased the exact wording!)
So today. Rest beside still waters. Think about the glory, the goodness and the mercy of God. Shut down the news reports. Block out the uncertainty. Eat a good old ham sandwich…or peanut butter and jelly….and sit at the table and give thanks. Allow your cup to overflow with His goodness. Speak truth into the lives of those quarantined with you. Tell Bible stories to those kiddos that are in your house. Sing worship with them. Of course do school, too, but integrate God into everything. What an opportunity you have to wrap them in God’s Word and teach them to live a life that honors Him. Ask God for wisdom, for discernment and peace (and maybe patience!). He is faithful to give it.
Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
I don’t know about you, but I have been in that place. Unable to articulate the words that are in my heart. At a loss for the right words. How about you? Even now, in the midst of this situation that has captured our entire country, many of us bow our heads to pray and can’t find exactly the words that best describe our state of mind. I find myself just sitting at my dining room table, Bible open, soft instrumental worship music playing, and I am just sitting in silence while I try to focus on God, try to think of exactly what I want to say, and not wanting to repeat the same words over and over about killing the Corona virus. I don’t feel fear. I’m not even overwhelmed. But there is a feeling of weakness. I am thankful that God, knowing the limitations of our human spirit, made a way for the words we cannot even utter to be heard through the interceding of the Spirit. Relief! That is what is felt instead. Peace. Not chaos or fear.
Today, just sit in His presence. You may not even know how to express what is weighing on your heart. But allow the truth of the Spirit’s intercession on our part to wrap around you like a warm blanket.