These days we are walking in are strange aren’t they? I’ve spent the past 2 weeks wanting to write, but not really knowing what to write. Like many of you, I have been at a loss for words. We are walking through and living in times unexpected. Covid-19 has done things none of us could have predicted or imagined. We are not only living lives interrupted, but altogether halted in a sense. Everything cancelled, right? And with all the store closings, schools shutting down, hotels and restaurants shuttering doors, grocery shelves emptying, we feel a loss of control.
As if control were ever really ours to begin with.
In all transparency, I feel that keenly. At 33 weeks pregnant with a miracle baby after 12 years of not being able to be so and one tragic miscarriage last year, I’ve been wrestling with that a lot lately. I’ve had to let go of my idea of what being pregnant would look like as our birthing class has been cancelled, along with our baby shower. Even just being able to be with family, friends, and church during this time has not been a possibility. It’s been very isolating.
I have had to let go of my own plans and ideas for how I would want my birth plan to go due to new hospital regulations and guidelines. As long as my husband stays healthy, he can be there as a support for me. If not, it could just be me. For one who has never been through the birth process, even thinking about that sends my heart-rate up a little. And if I am not healthy? The new reality is I may have to be kept from my newborn baby altogether for a period of days or weeks until it’s safe once again. There won’t be those beautiful hospital pictures of my older son getting to meet this long awaited brother in the hospital either. No visitors allowed. Yes, I worry, yes, I have been anxious. And there has been something else mixed in with all of that – grief.
With a sense of loss there is grief.
So this morning I have turned back to the psalms, particularly to one I studied last year, Psalm 119. It’s a psalm most often noted for it’s exultation of God’s Word. The Word dominated the psalmists life, and we see evidence of that when he expresses that he turned to it before dawn, daily, nightly, and at midnight. In other words the Word was the central life-line of the psalmist.
But within this Mount Everest of a psalm there is also another dominating theme, and that is lament. For whatever reason, the psalmist was penning this psalm under great duress. Over and over the psalmist points to God’s word as being his most grounding perspective despite others around him and his own feelings. He took great comfort in God’s word.
How? How did God’s word keep him?
It gave the psalmist revival, hope, comfort, strength, growth, assurance, sustenance, peace, and salvation. It kept him and gave him grounding perspective in the midst of great trials. How about us? What is keeping us? Is it the news, the government, social-distancing, health initiatives? While much of this might benefit to some degree, it all falls miserably short of the power that is God’s and God’s alone to provide what we need, when we need it, and how we are given it.
God is in control. He is sovereign.
This is what I am being reminded of currently. It is both a beautiful and a hard reality. Beautiful because as a believer, I know God keeps me. He is my grounding perspective, my present and future hope, no matter what happens this side of heaven. Hard because we are not promised immunity from pain in the here and now. But we are not alone, not if we place our trust and hope in God. He is with us, strengthening us, sustaining us in our weaknesses. In these days which can feel so foreign and isolating, He is present, working.
If you are like me, when in the midst of heartache, trial, or difficult circumstances like these days truly are, you may not feel much like digging into God’s word. I certainly find it hard to worship God and offer praise to Him during times of trial but this is EXACTLY what the psalmist did in 119. He centered and buckled down in God’s Word, and God’s word guided His prayer requests and helped grow praise from his heart. Through worship in and through the Word the psalmist was strengthened.
So this week I’m digging in.
I’m working to tune the news out more so that I can seek God with all the energy that has driven my anxiety and worry these days. I’m actively choosing to look up, not down. Anyone up for the challenge?