I’m going to jot down some thoughts I have. As usual, I’m inviting you to think alongside of me. If I wait until I know what I think, I know I won’t take the time to write. Writing and talking with friends is HOW I think, so make yourself a cup of coffee and join me!
Of course, I’m thinking that this pandemic season requires a lot of mercy! In times of crisis, everyone seems tense, quick to react and condemn. We feel superior about our knowledge or decisions, and disgusted by people who act differently. I’ve actually been embarrassed by my lack of mercy. I want to show mercy when I’m tempted to be impatient with people I think aren’t acting wisely or well. Do they want what’s best for their families? Probably most of the people I know. That helps. So does remembering how hard it is sometimes to know who to believe, and that not everyone has a doctor husband who can help sift the stupid links from the credible ones.
As a family, we’re taking corona virus seriously. We don’t know yet how the pandemic will play out in the US, but the potential to outstrip our hospital resources for an extended period of time seems possible. We should be preparing.
Preparation is complicated, though, isn’t it? We don’t know what to prepare for. We don’t always know what’s best! And I’m extra uneasy with people making black and white pronouncements that I’m not sure I agree with! I’m praying for wisdom about how to love my neighbors and community well.
Should we all completely and indefinitely isolate ourselves from any people not in our family unit? What about a single person? Very small families? I have people living in my house to talk with and hug when I’m feeling stressed. Not everyone has that resource, and many people are already lonely and disconnected from others? It’s possible to completely isolate ourselves, but isolation for extended periods of time is risky and unhealthy, too.
Since the people who seem to be giving the best information are indicating that the pandemic will be with us for awhile, we’d like to think about changes that are sustainable for many months.
We are all fumbling about, aren’t we? So is everyone else. God is answering these prayers for wisdom. We delivered a coffee to a friend who has a sick child. My daughters drew sidewalk art for anyone walking by. This afternoon, I invited a friend over for coffee– we sat on the back patio five feet apart. We’ve been brainstorming safe ways to help our local businesses stay afloat.
We’ve been forced to think about what it means not to forsake the assembling of ourselves. Not being physically with God’s people– that doesn’t feel good. But praying with God’s people, people I know and love, and who know and love me? That’s pretty awesome.
I like the idea of extending our family by one or two households for the time being. I’m wondering how to keep in virtual touch with people— the people in my church I don’t see but once or twice a month. Maybe I’ll make a list. Maybe I’ll take a card with my number to all the neighbors I’ve not gone to meet. I’d like to send some handwritten cards and letters. A letter is a physical thing, not as valuable as a hug, but better than an email.
God is doing good things. He is actively at work. When I feel overwhelmed because of all the hurting people, a sentence from the Lord’s Prayer helps me. Jesus tells us to pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I love these sentences, because I can pray for the earth and God’s work in it. I can leave the job to him, knowing that he is working his will and kingdom in ways I don’t understand but know are good.
Last night I was feeling anxious. I read through Psalm 23, stopping at each phrase and reminding myself of its truth in my specific circumstances.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, 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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord