I will admit that I temporarily lost my cool and had what I call my “day of panic”. In late February, I was at a show in Birmingham when everything started becoming very real for our country. We had all been watching what was happening in China and in Italy and all hoping that this terrible virus would somehow end before crossing our borders. Unfortunately, that show was very slow and I had too much time to think!
I have had a lot of trouble over the years embracing the Bible verse in James that says, "count it all joy when you fall into various trials". I know that trials build faith and patience but how do I count it as joy? While scrolling through all the “noise” on social media a couple of weeks ago, I found a post by @catalystleader of a quote by Rebekah Lyons that really spoke to my heart and helped me gain a little perspective. “Joy is not the absence of darkness. Joy is the confidence that darkness will lift.”
This pandemic may have affected all of us in different ways, but there is a strange comfort in knowing that it has literally affected ALL of us. The statement that “we are all in this together” has never been more true. You would be hard pressed to find a human on the planet that hasn’t been affected by this in some way, shape or form. It helps me to remember that I am not alone, that everyone is struggling and everyone is doing the best they can to get by. I also think it is important to focus on the fact that there have been a lot of good things that are coming out of this frustrating time. Think of all the meals that are being eaten around the dinner table because families are finding themselves at home in the evenings. Think of all the opportunities there have been and will be to show kindness towards neighbors and friends that need help with groceries and meals. We are all having to be a bit creative, but this virus is not stopping us from celebrating life! From streaming weddings on Facebook and helping people shop for a special gift via face time, to having drive-by birthday parties while grandma watches from her porch, we are determined to maintain as much normalcy as possible. So many musicians have been sharing their talents on social media and performing from home to offer entertainment and comfort to those that can’t get out of the house. The City of Macon, GA had to cancel their annual Cherry Blossom Festival but found a way to celebrate by hosting a Virtual Cherry Blossom Experience on their Facebook page. Our new friend James Worsham participated and performed from home, while raising money for a favorite local small business.
If you are blessed to be able to work from home at this time, or stay home with little stress, it is important to remember that there are many people who are furloughed or have lost their jobs, many who work in “essential” businesses that are having to work everyday, praying that they don’t get sick. There are health care workers who are feeling overwhelmed and scared, small business owners that have had to close their businesses and fear they may not be able to re-open them. There are those who have bills piling up, working parents with no daycare options for their kids and so many people who have lost loved ones to this. Let’s make an effort to lift these people up, not only in prayer but in encouragement. Send a card in the mail to a friend that is lonely, join in the efforts to make masks and gowns for healthcare workers, order yourself a treat from your favorite small business or have something sent to a friend. Share Facebook posts from those of us trying to hustle and keep things going during a trying time. There are many, many things you can do to offer encouragement to others. May we all spend as much time as possible thinking about the needs of others rather than the inconveniences in our own lives.
I hope and pray that this trying time in our history will be over soon. In the meantime, I am finding comfort (and joy) in knowing that God is bigger. I will leave you with a quote by Paul David Tripp taken from the daily devotional “New Morning Mercies”. “Get up and face life with courage because, as God’s child, you have not been left to the limits of your own strength and wisdom.” I say Praise the Lord for that! Especially in strange times such as these.
Much love to you all,