As I snuggled down under the covers, drifting in and out of sleep, I silently prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for my warm bed, my health, my loving family, and my safety. I am blessed to be somewhat removed from the coronavirus crises that is wrecking our country. My home is a safe haven. As I lay here, I feel like I am resting under the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 91) Oh, Lord, I can hardly believe what is happening. Help us listen and obey!”
A Bible verse popped into my sleepy head,
“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” (Psalm 27:8 NLT)
Time to get up. Coffee in hand, I headed to my sun porch for my early morning devotions and conversation with the Lord. It was still dark, but the birds were beginning to awaken, signaling dawn was not far away.
My talk with my Abba resumed. “Why, Father, are we experiencing such chaos? What insights can I share with family and friends?”
I picked up Daily Guideposts and turned to the day’s meditation. One of the focal passages was Zephaniah 1:11-12.
“Wail in sorrow, all you who live in the market area,
for all the merchants and traders will be destroyed.
“I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners
to punish those who sit complacent in their sins.
They think the Lord will do nothing to them,
either good or bad.” (Zephaniah 1:11-12 NLT)
“Oh, Lord, is this what is happening to our sin-sick nation–our world? Are punishment and destruction looming?” I brooded.
I read on:
“Because you have sinned against the Lord,
I will make you grope around like the blind. . .
“Your silver and gold will not save you
on that day of the Lord’s anger.
For the whole land will be devoured
by the fire of his jealousy.
He will make a terrifying end
of all the people on earth.” Zephaniah 1:17-18
What a terrifying warning!
Reflecting on the background of this passage, I remembered that these words were written to Judah just before their country was overtaken by the Babylonians.
Questions flooded my mind: Are we being warned or even chastised by the Lord for our idolatry and sinful lifestyles? Are we headed to captivity or destruction? Serious, sobering, gut-wrenching questions.
I then picked up Daily Bread. The title of the meditation: “It’s Time to Pray . . . Again.” The focal passage: “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18)
My phone dinged. As I checked the message, I noticed a text from a friend inviting me to be part of a one million Lord’s Prayer chain to slow and stop the Coronavirus.
Pray. That’s what we must do. Pray and Pray and Pray some more.
I paused to pray the Lord’s prayer and then passed the invitation on to friends and family.
Returning to the scriptures, I was led to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18(NKJV)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. A tall order when the world as we know it is shaken.
In my musings, I thought of the grief cycle and the various emotional struggles people experience in times of loss. We as individuals and as a country are no doubt in a pit of grief and despair over the coronavirus pandemic. All of us are floundering around somewhere in this cycle.
Since progress through the cycle is individual, some will reach the final level of acceptance much more quickly than others.
Many of us are still stuck in Phase 1: shock and denial. We can’t believe this is real. Some have moved into anger and bargaining. Our political circus shows these two phases in real time.
Some of us are in serious depression. Sickness, loss of loved ones, loss of financial security, and total disruption of lifestyles can lead to feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.
Bottom line: Few of us has fully reached the final phase of acceptance. We are still bouncing back and forth in the cycle trying to figure out, “What’s next?” Answers may not fully come for weeks—months—years.
Yet Jesus himself gave us the answer to all our dilemmas:
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)
Sadly, we as Americans have disobeyed the Great Commandment and forsaken the Lord who created this great country. Like the church in Laodicea in the book of Revelation, we are neither hot nor cold.
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.” (Revelation 3:15-19 NLT)
Perhaps it’s time to wake up out of our stupor, follow the Lord’s leadership, and return to Him with energy and fervor. If we fail to do so, we may be doomed as a nation!
Challenge: What about you? Are you stuck in fear and grief or are you moving toward acceptance of our situation and calling on the Lord for direction? As Christians, we should seek comfort and solace from Him and then share His wisdom, love, and peace with others.
To prepare to be his ambassadors, we can first carve out more “Jesus time.” The prayers of God’s people should rise to him as sweet perfume during these difficult days.
“Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV)
Next, we can reach out to those who need help:
“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT)
“Pray. Trust. Encourage. Support. We as the Bride of Christ can make a difference!
Thanks for reading and sharing. I’d love to hear from you. Many blessings to you and your family.