Daily Devotion for Thursday, March 26
Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
There's something important that I doubt many of us think about. Over the last week or two, we are so distressed about so many things - our job, our finances, grocery items that are unavailable, not having the freedom to come and go as we like, kids who are home from school, and finding enough interesting things to keep us from going stir-crazy, etc. I agree that there are a whole lot of "negatives" on our plates right now.
But what if we looked around and gave thanks and praise for the blessings God is sending us in the midst of these trials?
Most of us have been forced, for instance, to slow down and smell the roses - we don't have opportunities like this all that frequently. Perhaps your particular blessing is the opportunity to sleep in a bit. Or to catch up on a novel you've been meaning to read for months. Maybe it's the ability to spend some quiet time with God. Maybe you never have enough time to spend with your kids and now it's your golden opportunity - for these few weeks, you have all the time in the world! The other day I heard someone say they decided to take an online course because they suddenly have time on their hands. So how can your life be blessed by this time spent at home?
The other thing that comes to mind is that this is a good time to realize we don't have quite the empathy for those who deal with hardships that perhaps we should. This pandemic is unlike anything we've ever encountered. It's totally disrupted our normal lives and thrown us into a tailspin. It feels to us as though the world is coming to an end. But speaking for myself, the whole situation has made me pause and give closer consideration to the hardships and distress of others. I remember hearing and reading about the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa - the virus had a 50% mortality rate and well over 11,000 people died. I heard about it, but it had very little impact on me. Another situation that comes to mind is the plight of the 5.6 million Syrian refugees and the additional 6.2 million who are displaced due to the civil war in that nation - hospitals, schools, utilities, water & sanitation systems have been destroyed and yet somehow, the Syrian people continue to persist. And just yesterday, I read that months after the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, thousands are still living outside. Perhaps this stay-at-home/shelter-in-place order gives us just a small taste of the hardships others have had to endure and will help us empathize, pray for them, and do whatever we can to help.
The COVID-19 outbreak will pass. It might not pass as quickly as we hope it will pass. But our lives are going to be interrupted for a limited amount of time. And with God's grace, we'll come out of this on the other side as better people.
Let's offer a word of prayer: Gracious and loving God, with thankful hearts, we come before you in praise and thanksgiving. Teach us to look at our lives and our situations not with fear and anxiety, but with wonder and hope. Help us to know that all things truly ARE possible with You, and give us the faith to trust in you in all things. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.