Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
We were staying in a house in Mammoth when we received the shock. I was stepping out of the shower and I could hear my wife’s turbulent voice in the adjacent room.
“Are you serious? It isn’t possible!” Silence while she listened to the person on the other end of the phone. “Could it be wrong?”
I quickly wrapped myself in a towel, as my mind ran to put pieces together, speculating what was causing the chaos on the phone call. Eventually, like Lego pieces clicking together, I came to the true conclusion, ‘my wife has Covid.’
She finished talking with the nurse and I held her close as she stood with the look of trauma on her face.
Of all the members in my family, there was one in particular that we needed to keep from getting the virus; that was my wife. With her chronic lupus condition and her propensity toward pneumonia, she was in the high-risk category to be badly affected by the disease.
We had been taking extra precautions to limit her contact with others, and I had been praying everyday that she wouldn’t get the disease. And then she did.
We don’t know how she got the virus. And one of the great mercies of my life: her body has reacted extremely well. Her symptoms are mild and she continues to improve.
My mind speculates on what could have been, and I shutter. My empathy for those that are dying, or have lost loved ones to this disease has deepen like a steel shovel breaking into hard soil. Not everyone has been as fortunate as my family has been. And the number of infections continues to multiply in our state and across the globe.
It is both a time of gratitude in my life, and a time of anxiety. And God’s word gives life-giving direction amid the difficulty. In the letter of Philippians we are encouraged to take every worry, every anxiety, every concern and burden to God in prayer.
One of the great mistakes we make in our prayer lives to think that God, our marvelous Creator, is looking for shiny, polished people that come into his presence with their lives all put together. I find the more specific I can be with my struggles when I pray, the more of God’s powerful presence I get to experience. In our current difficulty it might sound something like this: Father, I am prone to anxiety. I worry about my loved ones, who are vulnerable, getting sick. I feel fearful about the direction of our nation, and our economy. My heart breaks for those that are dying. I feel impotent to change the direction of these enormous burdens.
God is looking for real people to be in relationship with Himself, not with cardboard cutouts that have a smile painted on. And once we come to him with our real struggles and worries, he draws near to us (James 4:8). It is important that after expressing our concerns and negative feelings to God that we don’t just say ‘amen,’ and rush back into the chaos. Give God time to respond. Allow his peace to start to move into your heart and your mind. Open up the Scriptures to allow him to speak His hope and promises into your life. See if you can move from a place of fear to a place of gratitude. As bad as things are, we can always acknowledge they could be worse. Take for instance where my heart is at today: Father, in the midst of this chaos, including isolation, cabin fever, and inconveniencing friends and family, thank you that it isn’t worse. Thank you that I’m not at the hospital today, or the graveside. Thank you that you’ve promised that even the hardest things in our lives will be used for good in your purposes, for those that love you. May you redeem even this tribulation. Amen.
Together in the Journey,