Annie in her book 100 Days To Brave wrote a prayer on Day Seven.
God, tell me the truth of who I am. I’m listening. I want to be free from the lies ~ do that for me. Rescue me. Bring truth like a waterfall.
Satan is not idol as we fight lies in quarantine. Truth from God’s word will set us free from the lies evil will tell us.
Lots of people are without work. I’m one of them. And we have no idea when we’ll be able to go back to work. Satan and his network is leveraging that to make many of us depressed, anxious and worried. My worth is not tied to the money I “earn.” My worth comes from my identity in Christ. Israel was convinced after they left Egypt that Moses had brought them into the desert to die. God never let them go hungry. They easily forgot all the things God had done for them, and I can easily forget what God has brought me through. This pandemic is not easy. It is not welcomed. It’s draining me of energy, and I wish it wasn’t happening. King David has written similar words in the Psalms, and it makes me think about the holding pattern he was in as he ran from King Saul. I don’t know how long that went on, but I’m guessing it was for a long period of time for a human. God is showing me that he protects my wife, daughter and me the way he protected David. He provides for us even when income is frozen.
I need to add a disclaimer. My wife continues to work, so I am thankful to the Father for that provision. I could have continued to work, but we made a decision to close my business based upon my daughter’s health issues. She has severe asthma, and because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus we are adhering to Governor Lee’s order to stay home. If my daughter contracted COVID-19 there is a possibility she would not survive. We are not taking that chance. That is not a lie from Satan. That is a reality that is undeniable. We lost our David 6 months ago. I’ll be damned if I bring a virus into the house that kills my daughter. Reading that sentence takes my breath away and feels my eyes with tears. My eyes have been welling with tears for 6 months because David is gone, but like Carey expressed I’m “glad” he isn’t here for this mayhem.
I’m still facing the questions of my worth and who I am. We are a complicated lot in the struggle we have with the paradox that visits us everyday. Quoting Scripture is powerful. Praying is powerful. Leaning into who we are in Christ is indispensable, but Satan is still roaming the Earth with his minions seeking whom he can destroy. And he’s doing a damn good job. But so is the Holy Spirit. I can only imagine how the Apostles and disciples felt on the heels of the murder of Jesus. I’m reminded of a passage I memorized from 2 Corinthians years ago in Daytona Beach when I was pastoring a church for the summer.
So do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen in temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
This whole system of seen and unseen is difficult to grasp because everything we do day in and day out has a physical element to it. Applying unseen practices to a disease that makes people die doesn’t make logical sense. I get that. I put medicine in my body in the morning and at night because of the clinical depression I fight, but I also begin my day with the One I’ve never seen with my human eyes unless he has revealed himself in dreams. I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t know, and I’m at peace with that because I have a Father who does. He’s omniscient. I remember as a child trusting my dad to do what dad’s do, and because he put our Father first that faith continues in my life. He and my mom fought sins I don’t struggle with because they fought them. It’s amazing how one generation can change the habits of the next one. There are things I’m fighting that my daughter will not have to contend with because I do not want her to struggle with those bad habits.
God’s generational ministry boggles my mind as I observe many families who are far from sinless live in the freedom Christ created in the Garden. The greatest love story is told from Genesis to Revelation, but it continues in the lives of those who are upon this planet now. To contemplate perfection is beyond the scope of our ability because we are mired in sin, and things such as this pandemic paralyze us from seeing the unseen. But time and time again the Father infuses faith in the fact that sickness is nothing to him. It angers me he allows it to go on. He could speak it gone, but he doesn’t. Why? That’s the million dollar question isn’t it? I guess somehow he’s using it to draw men, women and children to him.
A year ago this time I was praying in earnest that God would heal my father-in-law. There were times when we thought he was going to. He didn’t. We buried him in November, some tornadoes ravaged parts of Nashville, and Rona came for a long visit. She still hasn’t left. I know Job suffered greater loss, but comparing your suffering to someone else doesn’t empower you to grieve. Grief is grief, and if you stuff it down inside pretending the bad thing didn’t happen you only prolong the inevitable pain that comes out. You don’t need a counselor to know or experience that.
Jesus looked suffering in the face. He asked God if there was any other way. We’ve asked the Father if there was any other way. Jesus knows the pain we’re up against. He lived every life experience, minus sex, that we live. He knew hunger, pain, sexual desire, loss of family and friends, rejection from others and where God was in the midst of it. He was tempted in every way, yet he did not give in, hence the perfect sacrifice. Wow.
“He came from heaven to earth to show the way…” That’s the way the song goes, so I guess even during this time of isolation his presence must be sought from the youngest to the oldest on all 7 continents. God is moving dear one. It doesn’t feel like it, but I know he is.
I think it’s in Genesis 15 where Abraham’s faith is credited to him as righteousness. Abraham chose to believe God about who he is and what he had called Abraham to do. Because Abraham made that choice God declared him right standing before the one who has all power. Was anyone going to take that away from the father of Israel? If someone has all power then who can stand against him?
God is for us dear one. Will we struggle through the things that happen in life? That’s a given. We already have. We are as I write this essay. We will tomorrow unless our Father wipes COVID-19 from existence, but then I suspect there will come something else to challenge our faith.
These questions and statements are not new. They’ve been asked and uttered from the days of Adam and Eve, but until we stand before the Father, Son and Holy Spirit on Judgement Day, and we will, we’ve been called to be faithful like Abraham.
And when we make that choice we will be declared right, pure and blameless.
Thank you Jesus.