Last week I posted on my Instagram page a quote from Vinita Hampton – Wright “If you want to be an authentic writer, learn to tell the truth, to wrestle with it, to reflect on it, and then to write about it with great care. And great humility.” This is one of the powerful things about writing for me. I believe I am my truest when I pen a piece from my soul and spirit, untouched by thoughts of what someone else may think. Interestingly those evoke the most grateful responses.
Publicly I have not (until this point) commented on the COVID – 19. I’ve been in a mental wrestling match over this pandemic, mostly trying to absorb details, catch updates and avoid depression. Who could have imagined? We were hopeful at the sunset of 2019. The new decade and the new year would dawn mostly good things. Yet listening to the news feels like we are tuning into a suspense thriller. The threat of a new world war, celebrities dying tragically, earthquake, global pandemic, global pandemic and global pandemic. I almost feel like I would scream if I heard Corona, covid 19 news, memes, health advisories or how to wash your hands one more time. But we will keep hearing it, until the worst of it passes but even then, this is one of those things that will be etched in our memories and written about for a long time.
I suppose fear is an easy response in times like these. Mass hysteria and panic abound. Bare supermarket shelves, the latest update another 100 people are dead, more countries close their borders, businesses shut down, lay-offs, stock market plummeting and public events cancelled. This is new and unprecedented. What can be done? What should be my right response and have my actions and thought processes aligned with what God says?
The “good morning Google” command to my home mini device tells me the weather, commute time to work, brief summary of my days events and then the news. I would give the command after devotions while I started getting dressed for work. When media panic started about the Corona outbreak my brain registered an “interesting” thought and I moved on with my day. But hearing the growing concern made my heart tremble a little. Who am I kidding? It trembled a LOT. You know what it was? I was tuning in to the news about the virus more than I was about any other thing. I had the infection tracker open in a side window on my computer at work and I would go look at it. When coworkers gathered to express fear and distress I would inject some calmness in the discussion but in my head the conversations would stick and replay. For a moment, my emotions got shaky. I remembered then that wherever I allow my thoughts to dwell my emotions, actions and life are soon to follow.
So I stopped dwelling on the news. Of course I still listen every morning. I pay attention to breaking news and public addresses by government officials. Clearly I can’t crawl under a rock and pretend the world isn’t in crisis. COVID – 19 is a fact of the our world’s current status quo. However, what I do recall is that I’ve seen dark days, weeks and months before. I survived them. I survived because El Ezer, the Lord who is My help is very present in times of trouble. He tells me that in this life I would experience trouble but I should not worry because He has already overcome the world. The first part of that verse (Jn 16:33) tells us why he gives this warning, so that when tumultuous times come we would remain at peace. Have you ever felt what I call strange peace? The kind of inner calm that while being aware of the drama and the madness you seem unbothered or untouched by it. The kind of calm that allows you to push through it, take it step by step and even dare to find joy. That is peace that passes understanding. That peace is available under the following conditions. Check Phil. 4: 6 if you need evidence:
- Don’t worry about it
- Pray about it
- Tell God what you need
- Give God thanks
Scripture says THEN. Without getting into an English lesson “then” at the beginning of the next verse (7) means that what comes next is conditional on what came before. Correct? Good. Let me ask you this in much the same way the bible asks it. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (Luke 12:35)? I think worrying adds stress, subtracts peace and multiplies the probability of illness in your body. Instead share your thoughts with God who sees you and hears you. Tell Him what you think you need. He will either give it right away, ask you to wait or provide a better option. Finally give thanks for what you already have. I talk about gratitude a lot but it truly is a gateway to deeper peace. As difficult as this social distancing, quarantine, confusing time is. Look at the opportunity it has given for millions of people to simply get off the hamster wheel and slow down. No sports and no external entertainment have forced people to bond with their families in unprecedented ways. Parents are getting to know their children again and husbands are remembering that they have a wife and vice versa. I video chatted with a friend today and believe me I have not seen her this rested in years. The luggage below her eyes have disappeared and the stress pimples have begun to clear. Thank you COVID-19!
If Phil 4:6 were the title of a book or article it would read, “Four Steps to Deeper Peace”. Are you going to take those steps so that peace beyond human understanding can wrap your mind and your heart. I really hope you do. I did and Im not worried anymore. God’s got me and one day at a time God and I will walk through this valley.
Write Fully Yours,
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