Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
Psalm 143:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
I have not written a blog post in quite a while. Life began to happen and blogging fell off of my list of priorities.
Today as I read Psalm 143, I was struck by the unique times we are living in, and how so many Psalmists cry out to God in difficult circumstances.
Where I live, in the heart of America, we are just beginning to experience fall-out from the corona virus spreading to our country. And we are not accustomed, for the most part, to the kind of difficult circumstances it is causing around the world. Yet here we are, finding ourselves in a “world-wide pandemic.”
How is this pandemic affecting you today and as you look ahead to this week?
My daughter and I were to be traveling in the UK starting last week and for the rest of March – a trip of a lifetime. After closely watching the WHO, CDC, and BBC websites, prayer, and some agony, we postponed our trip. Now we are so thankful we did. Each day, things shift, and more and more people are getting sick. Countries are changing their travel policies, shutting borders; quarantines are in place, medical resources are stretched.
Even though the state I live in only had about 6 cases of the virus, and none in my town, the toilet paper shelf was bare last Friday when I went shopping at our local grocery store. Cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer were hard to find as well. Thankfully, food was in good supply, as well as other necessities.
Last Friday, our state and county encouraged public gatherings of no more than 250 people. Many large churches did not hold public services on Sunday, opting instead for services being live streamed with no one in attendance. Now I am seeing suggestions of no more than 50 people in public gatherings.
The schools in our community are on spring break this week. Many have announced an extra week of spring break while the administrators and teachers try to figure out how to finish the school year online if necessary.
Here in America, I did not sense much concern when the virus first broke out in China last December, yet only a few short months later, here we are, the world in a much different place; something that one could not have conceived of.
In light of all this, the phrases that stood out to me in Psalm 143 were the ones I bolded; “teach me to do you will”, and “lead me on a firm footing.” As a Christian, one who attempts to follow God’s will, what is God’s will in these uncertain times? How can I find “a firm footing” as I take in the news, the reactions of others, the fear of the unknown, the shifting reality of life around the world as well as in my own community, the loss of “normal life for the foreseeable future”?
For someone who claims Christian beliefs, the words from an old song we used to sing “this world is not my home, I’m just passing through”, comes to mind. A parable about a “wise man” spoken of in scripture who built his house on a rock, and the “foolish man” who built his house on sinking sand also floats through my thoughts.
How many of us are so comfortable and have put our security so heavily in things of this world, that we have forgotten our true home? How real is heaven? How do we live so connected to Christ through his Spirit that we are constantly living in and through him? What is our “foundation” in life?
I have been instructed by an article that was posted on fb this past week, regarding the actions of Christians during plagues of past centuries. You might find it interesting. Instead of running and protecting themselves, they stayed and cared for the sick and dying, turning the tide of the growth of the plague, and bringing many to faith. They did not fear death. They had a firm foundation in Christ. You can read it here.
I encourage you to sit with the entire Psalm 143 and listen for how God speaks to you. Reflect honestly with God about what you notice.
What is my invitation from God in these times? What is yours? For those who call themselves God’s people, these times may be ones of self-correcting. Repenting. Common sense planning, and lots of washing hands with soap! Looking for where I can serve. Love. Help. Pray for God’s help all around the world, to bring us all out of this distress we are experiencing around the world.
I close these thoughts with a quote:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf. “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.” –J.R.R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring
Photo credit: Photo is by my talented cousin Charlotte Hedman. Check out her work on her website https://charhedman.wixsite.com/photography