I am sharing this with permission from a friend who had asked for prayer for another friend.
Her friend was hospitalized and on a ventilator due to the Coronavirus.
This situation was one of the more serious cases that we really don’t like hearing about, but in the midst of it comes a story that we need to hear right now because it is a testimony of faith. It is a practical application about speaking life instead of death and hope instead of hopelessness.
This woman was not able to advocate for herself in the hardest part of fighting the disease, but her husband stood in the gap.
She found out after she began to recover that often the medical personnel would say she probably wasn’t going to make it but her husband’s response was “That is unacceptable.” And then he would speak about who was in control of his wife’s life.
Now we all know that at some point in time, this woman, her husband and all of us will eventually die. That is how life cycles here on planet earth.
But the time frame and the quality and quantity of every single life is not under the jurisdiction of anyone but the God who gave us our first breath and has continued to sustain every breath since that moment. The God who formed us in our mother’s womb before we were even a thought, spread His hand out over us and even if some other person decides to end our life before its time, He knew this in advance too.
So I am not saying that if we all would just speak these same words over someone who is gravely ill, we can stop death.
I am saying that we see here a model for how to speak life.
Every day since this whole thing started, there are voices speaking death over us.
Every prediction that does not factor in the way God does the impossible in our circumstance….every model that does not account for miracles and mercy…every statement that crushes hope and paints darkness over our future…is unacceptable.
Every voice that discounts that God is in control and fails to seek His wisdom, direction, correction and Spirit in this season (or any season, for that matter) is counter to His purpose for each of us and all the world. Every plan that relies on human ability alone to carry it out and looks to the strength of worldly systems to sustain us is unacceptable if I am going to place my trust in God alone.
I can’t stop the media, the talking heads, the politicians, the editorials, the comments, the posts of others…but I can stand as a guard over my own heart and my own mind…and when I sense the darkness of a God-less mindset speaking to me…I can say in my head…that is unacceptable and I can turn my thoughts to my God, who is able to do immeasurably more than I could ever think to ask or could even imagine.
I can choose to speak life inside myself and let that light and truth pour out of me.
One thing about this past six weeks that has amazed me is how quickly the week rolls by.
Wednesday is usually my randoms day, so I’m feeling a few coming on:
In no particular order…
I have been sticking with the reading schedule in Psalms as provided by our pastors for the new series of sermons.
Once again, God is way ahead of us, because I am noticing with regularity the references to clean hands.
I have to smile every time I come across it, and I think of the Psalms as I wash my hands with an alarming frequency these days.
But I also have been deeply aware that while God is interested in our health and being wise about not spreading germs, He also is wanting us to remember that the point is the “cleanliness” of our hearts fueling the actions and activities or our lives…maybe expressed in service done with our hands…but not exclusive to that.
This what He is after.
My words and my actions need to reflect a clean and pure heart.
Jesus was specific about how ritual cleanings that only went skin deep were not the point of this spiritual hygiene God was talking about.
He is looking soul deep and heart deep for where we are cleansing out things that are ugly and sinful and dirty in His sight.
Makes me think of the old song we sang with the youth years ago.
Give us clean hands and give us pure hearts…let us not lift our souls to another…let us be a generation that seeks Your face.
I want to call out the elephant in the room during this season.
We are dealing with a lot of emotions and such lately. The opportunity to dwell in the negative abounds.
News changes daily, in case you hadn’t noticed.
Opinions are shared openly by everyone, whether they have good information or not.
Directions and instructions and how we are supposed to be proactive in not spreading the disease and maybe we should be spreading the disease and to mask or not to mask…changes…hourly.
Updates and numbers of cases and deaths are flying around along with politicians having a go at each other and casting blame here and there.
And if I could remind you; if you are wistfully longing for the former days, at least on our local news feed prior to the Pandemic/Covid updates, it seemed like every single news story related back to the sale of recreational marijuana…so not really keen on going back to the “good old days” as far as the media goes.
Then there is the social media, which right now is a bit of a lifeline for us all as we can stay “connected”…and add to that all business and communication outside of our four walls is happening via FaceTime, Zoom or phone/conference calls…and if you are an introvert who gets refueled by being unplugged – this means you have to…ok I will personalize this…this means I have to…intentionally step away from my phone and computer and take deep breaths and force my mind to R.E.S.T.
John’s pastor had a great sermon on Sunday ( you can listen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=ezQX8K2r0CE&feature=emb_logo) about how this is a time when a Christian really needs to be guarding the mind on the daily. Fear and anxiety, along with cynicism and anger, frustration and distraction from the main things, are crouching around us 24/7. If we are going to maintain our focus on the things of God that matter, we will have to be watchful about what we let enter our thoughts.
Are the things we are entertaining and allowing to enter our thinking – good? noble? kind? helpful? true? Or are they feeding and fueling strongholds we have let take hold of us long ago.
Because what we let into our thinking will come out in our words and in our actions (go back to Random #1 if you need to)
If our activities on social media and in interactions with our family and friends and the world on the few outings we can take are looking like the rest of the world, we need to do a heart check.
We are still called to live differently as followers of Christ. Even and especially in a pandemic.
In light of that, I just highlighted with copious amounts of underlining and hearts, this passage from Oswald Chambers this morning:
and I posted on my Instagram and Facebook what God laid on my heart in response.
This is how we are called to live as followers of Christ. Pre-pandemic, mid-pandemic, post-pandemic. We have no idea what today or tomorrow will be like. We are always in uncertainty about the next hour. But we are certain of God. So we live in each moment and we prepare by acting in wisdom and discernment. We make the most of each opportuity. We do not speculate and we do not engage in foolish arguments with those who do. We live differently.
Laura Reimer/journal entry
I would add…no one on this beautiful spinning planet really knows what the future looks like.
They never have. They never will.
Which brings me to …
God gave humans the ability to have wisdom and knowledge. He has given us the ability to learn and to use all that He has made available to help ourselves and others.
We follow the current advice of those who have studied medicine and have done research. We come under the authority of the leaders God has placed over us.
Even when we don’t agree with them or even like them, sorry…but truth…we come under their authority unless that means denying our allegiance to our God. (Think Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who faithfully served in pagan nations under pagan Kings WHERE GOD HAD PLACED THEM, yet did not bow to their gods even if it meant death.)
So as for me…this is how I will venture forward in response to the convictions God has laid on ME…I only have to answer to Him for myself.
So yes, I will wear a mask out in public settings where I cannot social distance.
Yes, I will continue to shelter in place and limit my trips out to those that are well-thought out and I will sacrifice my preferences over what I can get with the least amount of time spent with minimal stops.
Yes, I will see family and friend when, in good conscience, I know those visits are necessary and to the best of my ability I will practice healthy measures to reduce risk of exposure.
Yes, I will get up each day and get dressed and go through my normal routines and believe that there is purpose and meaning to what I do whether it is seen or not.
Yes, I will listen to the news with an intentional effort to remember that God is in control and He alone knows how all of this will come out in the end.
And yes, I will pray for all the leaders who are in place and I will use all the strength that is available in me through Christ to maintain a positive attitude and to speak life and hope.
And yes, I will fail.
So yes, I will fall back on the grace and mercy that is extended to me daily…I will ask for God’s forgiveness and anyone else I have offended…and I will get up and keep walking.
How about you?
How will you move forward into the unknown of this journeying onward thing?
Wow…thank you so much for all the love and kind words of affirmation for Russ’s post yesterday. It means so much to both of us.
I am posting late yet again – because I hit up the grocery first thing this morning. We have been trying to go as little as possible and if those veggies and fruit weren’t so good for us, I could go less often…but that’s how it works.
I also gave blood. If you are able to but are concerned about the fear factor of not only the needles but the going in to a confined space, I would urge you to make an appointment.
Everyone has to be masked, you can do most of the registration and the questions online (the Rapid Pass comes in your email the morning of your appointment)
The receptionist basically baptized me by emersion in hand sanitizer and the people working with me kept applying it before they touched anything including their rubber gloves which they changed every thirty-seconds.
Even the snacks and bottled water were social distanced from each other…which may have been unnecessary but whatever.
And yes, I did sanitize my mini-oreo package and water bottle when I got home…and washed my hands before and after.
So if you can donate blood, check it out.
With this disclaimer…the needle is still the needle…so can’t help you with that.
Last little thought here is, I have had several super amazing people in my life tell me that they are numb right now.
They are worried about this because they are used to being engaged and loving and compassionate. They care about others and they pray, serve and encourage as a lifestyle.
And they feel numb and dispassionate at times.
So I am going to tell you what I told them. And it happens to be what I tell myself because I feel it too during these days.
We are tired.
We are hurting.
If we are not exhausting ourselves out there on the front lines and scared silly for our co-workers and ourselves and whoever we might be coming in contact with…we are home thinking about those people and exhausting ourselves in prayer and love.
We miss our friends and family that we cannot see even as we navigate 24/7 with the ones who share quarantine space with us.
Our contact (and I realize others are lonely and isolated without social media so that’s a whole other ball game…oh yes…that reminds me…we miss baseball) is via social media; which if anyone remembers is supposed to be limited to small doses or we become discontented and detached.
When we do go out, we see a lot of people in masks and they look scared and scary.
We are wearing masks.
We are smiling behind them, maybe but we get no response.
People we love and like and even people we don’t know take a big step back from us instead of moving toward us and even though our heads know why, our hearts recognize the old feeling of rejection.
We take big steps back from people and struggle with the conflict in our spirits because we want to approach and hug, so it feels mean and wrong to move away from them. Even if we all understand, it still leaves a mark on our souls.
We may sleep through the night, but on waking we are still not rested perhaps..and perhaps every morning as we reach for the alarm, we hope in our heart that Covid was just a bad dream.
It is bad. But it is not a dream.
So we get up and we face another day digging deep into those mercies that are new every morning.
We pray as people cross our minds.
We do the things we need to do.
We laugh when we can and let the tears fall when they pop up.
And we lean into God.
So if you are struggling, it’s ok.
We are grieving, we are disrupted, we are surrounded by too many voices saying too many conflicting things.
We love well and when others are hurting, we hurt.
So when you feel numb, please just rest.
Let God hold you and let Him remind you that you are but a child.
This isn’t being held up on your shoulders.
Your activity is not going to save the world.
So rest until He shows you the next one thing only you can do…and then do it.