I got a haircut this week! The first one in three months! My hair was really the only complaint I have had about the quarantine brought on by the Coronavirus. Silly, I know, but that minor thing was my major complaint! There are so many other things going on that have so much more weight than my stupid need for a haircut—100,000+ deaths in the U.S. alone, 362, 000 in the world—this is the major reality we face. And the families of these people are grieving, isolated and alone, funerals and burials postponed, the loss of a loved one so difficult to bear.
Then there is the plight of the medical professions who are directly caring for the coronavirus patients at risk from their own exposure. Our EMT’s, firemen, police, and bus drivers who are on the front lines of the response to the virus. The people who have lost their jobs because of the closure of businesses. The small business owners who had to close their restaurants and shops. We can’t pray enough or often enough to evoke God’s protection and providence for all these people in our country and across the world.
I am reminded of Psalm 42: “As the deer pants for streams for water,/ so my soul pants for you, my God[v. 1]…My tears have been my food day and night,/ while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”[v.3] And then, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul:/ how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”[v.4]
Are you missing church gatherings as I am? Just seeing the other members and guests at my church right now would be so joy-filled for me. I have been worshipping with my family these last weeks, but they go to a different church. I’ve seen a few people from my church on Zoom at our Thursday night vespers services and a lot of people as I reported earlier in our church’s long car line to celebrate our associate pastor’s graduation from seminary, but those hardly make up for the lack of personal greetings and worship together that I miss so much.
So much has changed and yet there is the 42nd Psalm: “By day the Lord directs his love,/ at night his song is with me—[v.8]/a prayer to the God of my life…Why, my soul, are you downcast?/ Why so disturbed within me?/Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,/ my Savior and my God.”[v.11] How do you connect with His love, His caring, His providence in this time of great danger and great change? Are you taking the time to rest in His arms and to hear what He is offering to you right now? Have you tapped into the “peace that passes all understanding” that is available to us anytime?”[Philippians 4:7]
I know that there are worries and cares, anxieties and fears in this epidemic for all of us. And the same is true of the re-opening of the economy and the relaxing of the self-isolation rules. We go from one unknown outcome to another unknown reality. And yet there is God in Psalm 23, always with us: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me…Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”[v.4,6]
We always have His assurances that, no matter what happens to us, He will always be with us, healing, comforting, accompanying us through all the ups and downs of life. He will walk us into the unknown future, still holding our hands. He will be with us no matter what. That is the comfort and care our Lord has for us. We can count on it day and night through all the trials and joys of life until we die and end up in His kingdom forever. That is our promise; that is our song!
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I embrace and live with “the peace that passes all understanding?” Do I live in the mind of Christ? If not, what would it take for me to give up my cares and worries and just accept God’s providence in my life? What would I have to give up? What would I have to believe and to trust? And how would I go about surrendering to His care?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who send out His peace to the whole world through our thoughts, words and deeds. May we be able to communicate His love and caring to everyone. May we live the live we are called to live.
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I do want to apologize to those who are seeking to befriend me, I just don’t have time to answer your comments. I am so sorry.