It’s Day 15 of “Shelter-in-place” (I live in Dallas County). Covid-19 free (so far), still working and getting paid, groceries in the fridge, and plenty of toilet paper (though it’s dwindling), I’m an American who has a lot of blessings to count. Others are not so fortunate. I see them and hear their voices. My pastor-heart aches for them. I have so little to offer. I feel inadequate in the face of what could be coming. Where does my help come from?
Our worse fears cannot destroy us.
Paul told his friends in crisis that nothing could separate them from God. He said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom. 8:35).
Think of the worst things that could happen to you. Paul just listed the top three for the first century person: persecution, famine, and war. Even if your worst fears came to pass, God would still be with you. Can your most dreaded fears destroy you? “No!” Paul says, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). The one who loved us is Jesus (John 15:13).
God has us covered.
I’ve been meditating a lot on Psalm 91. Here are the opening lines (emphasis mine):
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday” (Psalm 91:1-6).
What do we really need in a time like this? Security. “He is my refuge and my fortress.” All other man-made fortresses will crumble and fall, but the Lord will never fail. “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
We can find the security we need in our present circumstances when we rest “under his wings.”
The trial will reveal our strength.
“You always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” – Glinda the Good Witch, to Dorothy
Sometimes we’re tested, not to show us our weaknesses, but to discover our strength.
We all fall. We all get discouraged. We all have times when we feel like giving up. There is no shame in that. In fact, it is a great affirmation of your humanity. Welcome to the club!
Isaiah (who lived through his fair share of crisis) said, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” (Isiah 40:30). Isaiah looked at the landscape of his village and saw that even those who were thought to be the strongest and most virile – the young warriors – would stumble and fall. The good news was that “he (the Lord) gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).
We all play a role.
“Lord, when I feel that what I’m doing is insignificant and unimportant, help me to remember that everything I do is significant and important in your eyes, because you love me and you put me here, and no one else can do what I am doing in exactly the way I do it.” ― Brennan Manning, Souvenirs of Solitude: Finding Rest in Abba’s Embrace
Our nation is facing a great trial. We all have a role to play in the drama that is unfolding. Mine feels so small and insignificant. Yet, every player is important. I feel so inadequate. Yet, the one who knows how it will play out has promised to give me guidance, security and strength.
The secret to success is to put your hope in Him and then to run your race. The trial will reveal your strength.
Isaiah concludes, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
May you soar like an eagle!