Gratitude Day 423
Wed., Mar. 18, 2020
2 Corinthians 4:14: We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.
Good Morning Friends –
Is anyone else in a little shock over how much our world has changed in the last few days?
If anyone else is finding it hard to have words to describe their feelings, it’s OK. I’m struggling as well. Most of us are challenged in trying to make sense of how a little, well, obviously NOT a little, virus has changed EVERY. SINGLE.THING. about our lives and world.
What was unimaginable just a few days ago is happening. Quickly. Rapidly. Beyond belief.
I begin with just a few thoughts. Some may see overly obvious to you … but please hang on with me for just a bit.
COVID-19 is real. If it hasn’t happened already, there will be a day when someone you know tests positive. It happened for me yesterday. The person I know is in the hospital and has been for several days. This person’s immediate family, with whom he/she had contact with, are being quarantined. This person is doing OK and family expects the person to get better.
Here’s my point. COVID-19 is real. It’s happening. I know it is very difficult and hard to discern what information is accurate and what is fake. The folks who are trying to figure out how seriously to take COVID-19 are constructing a model and rule book as they go along because there is so much uncertainty. Is there uniform understanding and agreement amongst scientists? No. Should we be vigilant and heed their warnings? Absolutely. It is time for folks to stop thinking of this as a conspiracy or some crisis dreamed up for wrong reasons. It’s real. And some day soon, if not already, you will become aware of someone who tests positive.
Life as we know it has changed. When all sporting, entertainment and “normal” activities like school and eating out are canceled, it’s a big deal. A huge deal. Something that I, nor most everyone else, could not have imagined 10 days ago.
The pleas are real and serious: please stop going into public places unless necessary. When people say this, I pray we listen. It’s not just about whether or not we might get the virus. It’s about all the people we might come into contact with that might be compromised because we were with a carrier. Or are a carrier ourselves.
Have I been in public? Honestly, yes. Trying to make sure the kids in our community who struggle with food security, yes, I went food shopping this week so we could pack triple our normal number of Blessings in a Backpack bags.
Normally, we shop locally at our local grocery story. Needing food quickly, I found myself at big-box stores. One store was very organized and had things readily available. Yes, there were limits on certain products. The larger grocery store seemed overwhelmed with all of the shoppers. A guy who normally works in the tire department was unpacking food. Bless his heart, he tried to help this non-regular shopper at this store find what she was looking for.
I was at these stores when things might have been less chaotic. I witnessed people who were patient. Calm. Going about their business. It was just another shopping day.
Did people stare at my carts that were overflowing with large quantities of pre-packed food? You bet. More than once, I heard others comment about how much chocolate milk I was buying. When I saw the same woman at more than one store, she wanted to know how many kids I was feeding. When I explained why I was shopping, she offered to help. Right there in a large grocery store.
How we go about “normal” life must change. More than one person has commented to me that maybe this will be an opportunity for people to realign how we look at life. What is most important? Where are we committed to spending our resources of time, finances and other things? Will this finally be the kick in the pants that will help us see how short our earthly lives truly are?
None of us should be immune to these changes. We ALL must look at how we conduct regular, normal things a bit differently. When weddings and funerals are delayed and changed, it’s real stuff, folks. When school is being conducted at some level by parents who never had any intention of home schooling, the rubber has hit the road. As our local Blessings program and food pantry leaders sat down yesterday and tried to make plans to make sure the most vulnerable in our community still have resources, it’s no joke.
Let’s be very careful about predictions and how we use scripture. Yes, our normal must change. But I pray we remember WHO is in control and we do not speak for that Who.
This is a time for us to be CREATIVE. Step outside of our self-imposed comfort zones and move beyond what is most comfortable to make sure we are affecting change that will keep people safe, healthy and connected with each other. There is a whole slice of society that is and will feel very cut off these days because they can’t engage with others because they are at risk.
The picture a guy calling his dad while sitting outside of his window is precious. My sister, Debbie, reminded me of a time many years ago when the nursing home where my grandmother lived was on lockdown. My grandmother became very depressed. Debbie stood outside Grandma’s window and called her. She brought in their baby lambs and let Grandma see them through the window. “Visits” changed and were adapted. Likewise, we all can be a bit more creative in how we reach out to people. Encourage each other. Support those who literally feel cut-off.
We have the advantage of technology today. We have lots of tools that can help us be creative in how we connect with each other. I pray we embrace them and discover how to use these tools in a healthy and helpful way.
Let’s stock up on what is most important. I do not believe the popular saying that says “everything happens for a reason.” I do believe that out of challenging times, we have immense opportunity to grow, learn and be drawn closer to God.
Rather than stocking up on disinfectant and toilet paper and wipes, let’s stock up on what is far more important: Kindness. Patience. Love. Compassion. There are a ton of people who are experiencing real affects of this. In the not too distant future, we WILL hear trained professionals address how some people will exhibit longer term impacts of what is going on right now. Rather than judging if these situations are real, let’s be folks who choose to blanket others with the attributes Christians are CALLED to display every day. Gentleness. Faithfulness. Goodness. Self-control.
What would be helpful for you to stock up in this season spiritually? The past few days, I have been contemplating what I can do through this platform to support and encourage others. The reason I write these blogs and share resources is so that I can help bring joy, peace and contentment into other people’s lives. My question to you is this: how can I help do this for you?
What means would be most helpful for you today? This week? Would daily uplifting blogs be helpful? Would a daily study guide based on scripture that you could download and do daily help you find focus? Would a weekly on-line prayer group that meets via Zoom or Facebook bring you peace? Would an on-line book study bring joy into your life? Would a 15- or 30-minute Sunday worship time be something that you would participate in?
How might we connect and encourage and support each other these days?
I want to hear from you. How might we use this platform to discover and explore faith in a whole new way? Please comment to this blog. Send me a PM. Text or e-mail or call me. Seriously.
It doesn’t matter where you are located. This is the great thing about technology! We can create opportunities for everyone, anywhere. I pray that together, we come up with a way to encourage each other through this strange time in our lives.
If you haven’t signed up for the free daily prayer text message that I send out daily, please do so now. Simply text simplewordsoffaith to 33222.
As we are reminded in the opening scripture, God is TOGETHER WITH US.
For God’s presence with us today, I am grateful.
Holy God – thanks for being together with us during these times which feel so different. If we are unsettled, I pray we find peace in You. If we are challenged, I urge You to bring peace into our lives. I pray that together, we can embrace ways to remain connected to You and each other. Amen.
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