If you’re like me, you have been on a roller coaster of emotions these past couple weeks with the onslaught of “life as we know it”, literally shutting down before our very eyes.
When the first wave came, it was annoying and disappointing to have events we were looking forward to canceled as a precaution. Then we quickly saw how serious this was becoming. March Madness was effected and came to a screeching halt. That may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but in our house and community it’s huge. When you look at the ramifications of what that meant to shut all those events down from high school all the way up to the professional league, there would be some serious fall out on the economy from those decisions alone. That made our heads turn. It didn’t stop there.
We were then instructed to cancel all gatherings holding 50 or more people at them. Really stop to think about what that means to our economy when we shut down all gatherings of 50 or more people. Now as of this week, we are mandated to avoid gatherings over 10 people. What if you’re income is dependent on serving people in groups of more than 50 people? I am a professional speaker as well as a pastor. My heart goes out to all my speaker friends who had their livelihood immediately put on hold; who will need to use this time to be creative in ways to serve their customer base. My heart goes out to all those in the food services industry who just had their dine-in services shut down indefinitely. Our students have been forced to stay home for an undefined point of time at this point. All their activities, sports, events and hopes to be fulfilled put on hold. Seniors in their final year of high school, not knowing if they will be able to enter those doors again, or walk the stage for their graduation ceremony. Students who count of school as their “safe place” to be during the day, have that option cut off from them. Those living in assisted living and nursing care facilities have been cut off from physical contact with their loved ones; such an important connection to help them stay strong and in peace. Those who are still out there working every day to care for others and serve in these uncertain times, dealing with their own emotions of fear, worry, stress and exhaustion.
These are just a few of the areas we are all aware of that are very real, bring real emotions and consequences we will all need to work through, together.
On a personal note, I’m sure like many of you, I have had to work through and deal with my own feelings of disappointment and inconvenience. I am disappointed so many of these gatherings are canceled that I have been looking forward to. I am disappointed I can’t gather with my church family right now in worship-sharing hugs and hearing each other sing praises to our God. I am disappointed that as a family we can’t get away for a couple days during spring break that I was so looking forward to. I am inconvenienced that we can’t go to the movies over spring break or enjoy breakfast or dinner out. I am inconvenienced that everything has changed and that means I have to adjust my routines and what I need to focus on. Can you relate at all? This is my human, selfish side rising up in me. We will all have our various emotions to work through. It’s ok. Yet let us not remember to be consumed with our emotions and thoughts. Let us remember there is One who is greater than you or I, who is at work and in control for the good of those who love Him. He frees us from the prison we create in our minds, to see He is there, He is present and He is our place of comfort and peace.
Isaiah 25:4 NLT But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat.
Praise God, His Spirit has been sweetly speaking to my heart in this time to focus on Him and a much bigger purpose He is bringing about. I want to share His words with you and I pray it helps shift your perspective if you have been struggling like I have at all, to see with eternal eyes, what God is up to. His divine purposes are so much bigger than our momentary inconveniences and disappointments. He is concerned for the eternal well-being of all humanity. We should share the same concern. Let us join with Him and surrender to His purposes to be fulfilled.
Here is what He spoke to me:
Rise up above your self and look to the greater good and need.
Slow down and evaluate your priorities and focus for your life.
Turn your heart to Me (God), who is, who was, and who always will be- Holy, Sovereign and God Almighty.
Seek Me to find out what life is truly about.
It is not simply to fulfill every personal desire and ambition you have. Are you not created to love others and serve one another? Have you neglected this in any way in your life? Have you become too consumed with self in any area? Have you become too dependent on self?
Seek Me and I will open your eyes anew. I will show you how and where you are called to serve. I will show you how connected this world truly is.
Matthew 6:33 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
I believe this season we are in is a reminder for all of us that our world is truly connected, that we are all connected and dependent on one another. What we do, or don’t do, affects the masses. We are not created to only depend on ourselves or serve ourselves. We as humanity, are designed in such a way to care for one another and share life together.
I want to encourage us to rise up in this time and be intentional about loving one another-from a safe distance of course.
So this means looking at what really matters and what doesn’t-letting go of what doesn’t.
- Let us stop bantering on social media and biting and devouring at one another because we have different opinions or views. It’s OK to not agree on everything. We can still choose to love one another as human beings who truly need each other. Let us choose instead to speak words of encouragement and hope.
- Let’s stop hoarding supplies and remember we are all in this together. It’s not about “Making sure I get mine”, it’s about making sure all have enough. Love one another by sharing what you have.
- Let’s stop the panic and mentality of “just taking care of me and my family” and let us notice our neighbors, the homeless, the elderly… let us notice others and see how we can help.
- Let us remember love covers a multitude of sin and love never fails.
Let’s be a people who turn back to God and pray for His mercy, His protection, His healing in the land, His wisdom, His grace to flow, His unity to join our world together and to ask how He wants to use us to spread His love. Let us trust in Him in this time. We need Him. Let us humble ourselves before Him and cry out to Him.
Jeremiah 32:27 NIV 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
I wonder if this might be a “reset” for our world to unify and focus on what matters most-love.
I believe we will endure this season and we will be better as a world and a nation because of this.
I encourage you to look with eyes to see what God is doing in this time-all around us. Ask Him to show you if you can’t see. He will. I encourage you to spend this extra time we all have now, seeking Him and building your relationship with Him. I encourage you to read His Word to renew your mind and teach you His ways. I encourage you to truly be present with your family and remember how good it is to be together.
Let us rise up together. Let us serve-help-love.
Let us each be the one who chooses to rise up above ourselves, and surrender to God’s divine purpose. Let us watch the ripple effect that will follow as we each choose to do this.
God is with us. God is for us. God is ever faithful and true. We can trust in Him.
God bless you and your families in this time. May His protection cover you all and may His perfect love flow through you ever more.
Ephesians 3: 14-21 NLT
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.