A holy Christian cross laying on an open Bible with an American flag in the background. (Enterline Design Services LLC/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
I don’t know about the rest of you but this corona-crisis has had me running the gamut of emotions: fear, frustration, bewilderment, denial. Even humor has found a way to hold sway at times. (Let’s face it, most of the memes have been pretty good.)
I’m not freaking out. I’m not panicking. I’m doing my darndest to “Keep calm and carry on.” One of the things that’s helping me in that endeavor is leaning into my faith. My church has gone to solely online services the past few weeks. (This has not been a huge adjustment for me as I’ve been attending primarily online for a couple of years now. The pros and cons of that in non-pandemic times are fair game for debate, I recognize, but it’s 2020 and technology affords us telechurching as readily as it affords us telecommuting and telemedicine.)
This past Sunday’s message (which you can watch in its entirety below, if you’re so inclined) centered on remembering that, no matter how out-of-control we may feel, God’s got this. He is the sovereign God who doesn’t sleep. The Pastor, Greg Holder, posed a pointed question: “Are we going to trust that God is God?” Are we, indeed?
I admit it — I’m a control freak, a “Type A” sort of person. Remembering to get over myself and recognize — trust — that God is God is a challenge for me. And I know I’m not alone in that. Pastor Holder suggested an exercise that might help with that — taking the first five(ish) minutes of the day — before picking up the phone, or turning on the radio, or anything else — to do three things: 1) thank God — think of (or even voice) something for which you are thankful — big or small, doesn’t matter, just give thanks; 2) pray — verbalize your asks for that day; talk to God about what’s on your heart; 3) scripture — take a moment to read (and contemplate) a verse or two. It’s not much — just a couple/few minutes of being intentional and redirecting your focus to God.
I failed miserably yesterday morning. Woke up, stretched, grabbed my phone to check notifications. Forgot completely about it until later in the day. I did, however, remember this morning. It wasn’t fancy. Probably only took a minute or two. But it helped.
I ventured out to the store today. In my observation, most people are being polite, trying to keep appropriately distanced from one another, giving an occasional smile and nod. Then there was the guy by the eggs. I paused a moment in front of the case, eyeing them up, as my usual brand was nowhere in sight. And Mr. Space Invader decided to stand right behind me — maybe at a distance that would be on the close side of appropriate in the pre-COVID days — but way inside the 6-foot perimeter. My initial instinct was to glower at him but I refrained. I considered the possibility he just didn’t realize his faux pas, grabbed my eggs and spun away to reclaim my safety zone.
On a hunch, I stopped by Target, too. I thought I might luck out and find some re-stocked cleaning items (which I did and felt like I’d won the lottery). On my way in, I happened past a couple and overheard probably more than I should have. I tweeted about it later:
In all seriousness, I know this mess has everyone stressed to the max. As I was entering Target, there was a man yelling at his wife for not getting the “extra strength” something. Maybe he’s always an ass or maybe he’s just overwhelmed. Be kind. Give grace AND space. ❤️
— Susie Moore (@SmoosieQ) March 31, 2020
Look, friends, there’s no way to sugarcoat this: The next few weeks are going to be hard; they are going to painful. We’re all going to experience living our lives under pressure — significant pressure. And it’s likely to bring out the worst in some, even while it brings out the best in others. Very little of it is within our control. Now is the time to lean in, to be kind, to not just give space but also grace to one another.
And above all else, to remember — and trust — that God is God.