We are living in unprecedented times. Fear, panic, isolation, pent-up energy, aggression, and loss of income seem to be the new normal, and no one has a very solid idea when all of this will end or when we will return to some semblance of life as we knew it. If you are anything like me, you are asking why is all of this happening? You see, we believe that God directs our paths and knows our end from the beginning, so this couldn’t have taken Him by surprise. We believe He knew about the pandemic, the ensuing financial free-fall, the response of politicians on both sides, and the internal angst we are all currently feeling. If that is, in fact, true, and I believe it is, where is He in the middle of all this? Where is Jesus and where is the Gospel present in my life, family, church, community, and world? It’s an important question to ask because it has the ability to anchor our souls in a time when it feels like we are being tossed around by every news update, mass closing, or grocery store run.
Now, I don’t want us to take the first easy answer or quick fix that comes our way. There are literally thousands of memes, quotes, and inspirational moments that can feel like an anchor, but platitudes really won’t work for the long haul in times like these. You see, growing up in the church provided me with all the “right answers” to difficult questions and tough times, but those answers do not always calm the storm inside me, and my guess is you are feeling some of the same feelings. So if there are no easy answers as to why all of this happening or where Jesus is in the middle of it, how do we access the hope and peace the Gospel of Jesus affords to us? How do we find peace in the middle of this storm? One thing that has brought me hope and peace through this has been sitting with scriptures for a few minutes every day; to allow Scripture the space to remind me that our current reality is not the end of our story. I give it space to remind me that I am part of something bigger than COVID-19 and that God’s truth anchors my soul even when I don’t always feel anchored. This isn’t an overnight reality, but it is a reality that will take hold if we allow it to occupy part of our daily rhythm and routine. We will find our anchor, but it may take time and effort.
For example, one such passage of Scripture that has brought me great comfort the past few days comes from Psalm 91. Here is what it says:
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You see, I believe no matter where you are or what you are feeling, you are in the shelter of the Most High and in the shadow of the Almighty. Maybe that darkness you are feeling is just the shadow of the Almighty protecting you? Maybe this time is an invitation to surrender our feelings of helplessness, fear, anxiety, anger, or confusion to the one who is our refuge and our fortress? You see, we may never fully understand the times we live in, but when we look for where the Gospel is at work, we find that He is overshadowing us and protecting us in the middle of all this.
Yet, this is not a reality I have fully lived into yet. I am still fearful about the future; I still struggle staying focused and attentive in the middle of such interesting times. I have to sit with this passage daily and sometimes multiple times a day. It is working, though. I am beginning to find peace and I am confident the more room I give for God to meet me, the more I will have the answers I seek because I have allowed my life to be shaped by His truth. Where do you need to sit with God? Where will you find your peace in the middle of this storm and others we will certainly face in our future? Start today and I believe you will find that you are actually standing on a rock that will prove quite sturdy no matter what life sends your way.