Some years ago, I sat staring at a mountain of bills and a barren bank account. Tears flowed from my eyes as I realized the cupboards were empty, too. Worse yet. It was Monday and this single mother did not get paid until Friday.
Today, I sit in a pleasant and cozy home that I share with my husband, two daughters, and two stepsons. I write from an office overlooking an expanse of countryside that recent rains have turned a deep emerald green. The sun glistens on the grass, and an open window sends a warm breeze across the room.
Though there’s a stark contrast between my yesterday and my today, similar uncertainties flourish because the coronavirus has turned my life upside down.
On January 1, 2020, my husband and I operated two thriving businesses. Today, we’re unsure when the next project—and the next payday—will come. For us to work, the country must be open for business, but right now it’s closed—and for some time to come.
However, this time the tears won’t fall, and a sense of peace and calm settles in their place. While I appreciate that our circumstances seem dire, I know I am not alone, and I need not be afraid. And I am reminded that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46).
My husband will tell you I am a worrier. If I denied this, I’m positive he would roll his eyes.
Though I know better, there are still moments when I let worry overtake me. I worry about our finances, our health, our children, and our friends and loved ones in other places. I worry about our government and its ability to put aside its partisan differences and work to the greater good. I worry about how many people will succumb to this invisible killer, and I worry that among them will be people I know and love.
Even when we know not to worry, we still do. Life is hard, especially right now. When our circumstances seem hopeless, it takes a concerted effort, every day, to let go of our fears and find joy in this season. But in faith, we can be confident that God cares for us and gives our weary souls a place to rest.
Jesus tells us not to be anxious about our lives nor what we will eat, drink or wear. He tells us to, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
I know these words to be true; I regularly experience our Heavenly Father’s caring in my life.
The very night that I discovered I had more bills than money, I left my troubles at His feet. I told God, “I don’t know what to do, who to ask for help, but I know I can’t bear this burden alone.” I asked Him for peace, so that with a clear head, I could decide what to do in the morning.
I slept soundly for the first time in weeks. The following day, with a sense of calm and an unexpected gift from a friend, my situation improved. I always remember how God cared for me during that difficult time and now I offer this caring to others in need.
God provides for us and gives us the strength to walk through our troubles. Peter tells us to “cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). His words remind us we can turn our worries into peace, when we look to the Word and turn to God in prayer when life’s circumstances overwhelm us.
We may wake to see our circumstances unchanged. But when we realize that we are never alone, that our Heavenly Father is always with us and that He cares for us, we will have peace.
God ALWAYS Works to the Good
There’s a woman I know who lost her 17-year-old daughter to a drunk driver. It’s hard to imagine any good coming out of that.
I’m sure my friend would rather her daughter be alive, but when faced with no other choice but to go on without her, she began helping other mothers facing similar losses. She goes to the hospital to be with those mothers when their child passes, and she stays by their side in the tough months that follow.
Her loss remains, but her work changes lives. It reminds me that no matter the circumstance, God always seems to use it for His good, even a child’s death.
We may not want to see it or admit it in our grief, our financial crisis, our marriage troubles, or our health issues, but it’s true. Paul reminds us that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We see this bearing out right now. Even as the coronavirus pandemic spreads to over 150 countries, infects hundreds of thousands of people, and results in thousands of deaths, we can see the good in humanity.
We watch as restaurants give away food to help the hungry; schools pack free lunches for homebound students; volunteers make grocery deliveries; neighbors check on the elderly; children put inspirational messages on neighbors’ driveways; and companies, and countries, donate personal protective equipment to help healthcare workers. The list goes on and on.
When we pay attention, we see God is hard at work as the world struggles with COVID-19. And we realize that no matter how hopeless our circumstances seem He is always with us and working for our good.
Shelter from the Storm
The women in my life group have a group text. Though it’s a couple’s group, none of our husbands wanted to join. They accurately predicted the sheer volumes of texts going back and forth and opted out.
This group text, however, is a lifeline as we shelter in place. We share our fears and concerns, our wins and our failures, and the verses we cling to in our daily struggles.
One verse we are claiming is Isaiah 41:13, when the Lord says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” The other verse giving us solace is, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4).
These verses remind us not to fear. Our Heavenly Father will help us. Though our worries may not go away anytime soon, we can always find shelter in the Lord.
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