The past few weeks have been weird. I have described my feelings to a few friends as a surreal vacation that’s not a vacation sort of existence. My experience is not the experience of everyone around me. Some are sick. Some have lost jobs. Some are Medical workers. Life is uncertain. And it’s not just in the world around me. It’s happening worldwide. It’s definitely surreal. And it has reminded me of this, things can change in an instant.
I have learned something about myself these past weeks. I take a lot of things for granted. I take for granted my daily routine. I take for granted finding what I need in the grocery store. I take my health for granted. Simply meeting a friend for coffee, running to a department store, sending kids to school, going to the movies, going to dinner with my husband, hugging a friend, going to the playground, etc., etc., etc.…all taken for granted. And church, worship, fellow believers…this is the thing that hurts the most. For the first time in my life, I cannot meet with my church. And it’s not just me, THERE’S NO ONE THERE. There have been times in my life when children’s sickness or bed rest have inhibited my church attendance, but this is the first time the church building has been empty. I take church worship for granted.
The last week or so my first waking thought has been, “Is this really happening?” It takes a few minutes to sink in and I realize, it is. It’s weird.
My daily activities as of now are not a whole lot different than what they usually are. Other than having my older kids home, it’s pretty much the same. But then those thoughts creep in and I remember. I remember how many people I know who are laid off. I remember that last prayer request about my friend’s infant daughter who can’t get needed medical attention because so many places are closed. I remember the people I know in nursing homes & assisted living places who aren’t allowed visitors. I remember my friend who is a missionary in another country and has chosen to stay. I remember the conversation I had with the cashier at Walmart. And countless other things. I remember. And I know things are not the same.
As a believer, I am constantly learning things about myself. The older I get the more I realize that I don’t really know myself. That’s a weird thought. Some things I purposely turn a blind eye to. Who wants to admit all their faults? Some things I don’t want to believe. Is it prideful to acknowledge your gifts? One thing I have learned about myself recently is I am over-analytical. It’s paralyzing. But the one thing that gives me comfort is this, I don’t know myself, but I am fully known. Fully known. And not only that, as a Christian, I am fully loved. Fully known & fully loved. God the Father in Christ has met me in my deepest need. This is my firm foundation.
In this time of change and uncertainty, I am learning to be more thankful.
I am thankful for the goodness of God that has shown me my ingratitude. I’m thankful for the extra time I’m spending with my 2 oldest girls who will soon be gone. I’m thankful for the lessons my children are learning in this, forbearance with each other, being one. I’m thankful that they’re learning at an early age that things can change in an instant and to not take things for granted. I’m thankful for the slower pace and lazy Sunday afternoons and for more family dinners. I am thankful for the art of letter writing being renewed for so many people. I have much to learn and I am thankful.
My mind goes to Philippians 4:6. My prayer is that I, we, the church, would replace our anxious thoughts with thanksgiving. And, like Paul, we would learn to be content in all circumstances. My mind also goes to James 1. For he teaches us that our trials allowed from the hand of our good Father are tests of our faith meant to mature us.
In the providence of God, our church’s banner verse for the year is this, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In this time of uncertainty. In a world that can change in an instant. Here is my rock. Here is my anchor. The unchanging God. My Father. My Savior. He is the same. He knows me and he loves me fully.
So, as I change. As the world around me changes. If everything else is different. He is not. For, He is the same, yesterday, today, and yes, FOREVER.