Dear Sister or Brother in Christ,
I am writing to you from inside my home where I have been, with little exception, for the last 14 days, without a specific end in sight. You, dear reader, are likely in a similar situation. I send you a hello and a hug from my couch and fuzzy blanket, and wish very much we could rather meet in person.
In this age of access to everything from everyone everywhere all the time, I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that bombards me from the little computer in my pocket. The last thing I want to do is add to the noise. My prayer is that if even one person needs to know they aren’t alone, that there is hope, or a purpose for this in their life, that they be the glad recipient.
I like to be prepared. I’m not a risk taker, and I’ll backup plan your backup plan to ensure someone can save the day if all breaks loose. So it’s funny to me to look at this situation and acknowledge the absolute zero control I have. At the very beginning of the journey with this pandemic, I read too much. Too much information, too many questions and opinions, too much challenge and defense, and even too much good stuff. What I needed, was THE stuff. God’s Word, and space for Him to speak. After a little over a week of riding the roller coaster, I decided to shut off the noise. No more hourly updates. No more city by city news. And you know what happened? Quiet bred calm.
Not only did I shut off the noise, but I made a choice to feed myself God’s Word, and take my concerns humbly, specifically, and completely to the Lord. No holding back. My journal holds all my fears and conspiracy theories, and in the days to come, I’m sure it will grow as I lay those things I wouldn’t dare say out loud down at His feet.
We see the writers of Psalms do this. For example, when David writes to the Lord, he is honest, very specific, and does not hold back emotion. It’s important to shed light on the thoughts and feelings stirred up in our heart. When we bring them out of the darkness, God’s love and truth can shape the way we respond, and enable us to move forward in strength.
In Psalm 56, David details his troubles:
‘All day long they injure my cause, all their thoughts are against me for evil. They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life," verses 5-6 say.
I can imagine thinking many of those things about the troubles of today. Businesses are temporarily closed, schools altered, government making unprecedented decisions, and the inconvenience, fear, frustration, and disappointments tempt us to believe it will lead to destruction. But David does not stop there. After telling the Lord how his circumstance is making him feel, He reminds his own heart of the greater truth.
“This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:9b-11
In my bible, I have a note from 2014 by these last verses. The Dallas Metroplex where I live, had a confirmed case of Ebola. My heart was anxious and my mind racing with all of the what if’s and how should I’s. Remembering that our God - the creator and sustainer of all life - is for me helped ground me with truth, and it is a grounding anchor for us now.
Author Edward Welch wrote, “What can an enemy do? Quite a bit. But no enemy can restrain God from remembering and acting on your behalf. No enemy will ultimately triumph. And even death itself will not keep you from God’s presence and mercy.”1 That truth of who are God is we must hold fast. If we put in high regard the greatness of our God, that is when His Spirit within us has freedom to move us Godward in our thinking, feeling, and living. It takes time to make long term changes and see growth, but I testify today to the immediate grace and peace that comes when we choose to behold our God.
If we, like David, can process our emotions – fear, anger, disappointment – through the filter of what we know to be true, it provides a place for our hearts to settle, rest, even as the storm billows and the enemy accuses. If you’ve tried resting in the shelter of yourself, you know it’s nothing close to rest. But if you shelter in the Most High, you experience the presence and the peace of the Creator of the World. And He’s got the whole world in his hand, am I right?
We become what we behold.
I was lovingly reminded this week that “We become what we behold.” Child of God, what are you beholding? Where are you seeking rest and shelter? When you have a quiet minute, I encourage you to read Psalm 91 and Colossians 1:15-20 aloud, and behold our God.
As we become more like Him during this season of shelter in place, may God’s word take on new meaning for you.
Praying for you today, and asking the Lord to shower you with His peace and abundant grace. Behold our God; He has not changed. And He loves you.
Until next time, peace, joy, and long-distance hugs.
Behold our God; He has not changed.
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