Updated: Jul 28, 2022
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. (Psalm 139:8 NIV)
As an extrovert, a mother, and someone who usually works from home, these last few weeks have been a very bizarre experience. My workdays haven’t changed… except there are so many more people in the house. I’m tired of being around my family, but I’m lonely for conversation (especially on any topic that’s not the coronavirus pandemic). Sometimes I feel like Psalm 139:8 above, rather than reassuring me of God’s constant care, describes me failing to get a moment’s peace from “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy!”
Many people have been wanting more time around their homes but find themselves suddenly saying, “Not like this!”
Joking aside, it really is hard to make use of the time. Frustrations mount as we’re cooped up with the same people day in and day out, yet anxiety builds behind it as we hear story after story about the horrors of suffering from CoViD-19. We don’t want to stay in, but we’re afraid to go out—if not for our own sake, then for the others in our lives whom we want to keep safe. Moreover, those of us who aren’t being driven crazy by family might be feeling more isolated and lonelier than ever.
When the situation grew into a pandemic, I subscribed to World Vision’s daily prayer prompts. (Text “pray” to 44888 if you’d like them, too!) Last Friday, the prompt read, in part, “Father, take away the fear from people under quarantine. Give them peace and purpose in protecting others.” As soon as I read it, I realized that part of what I was missing in my frustration with all the school and business closures was purpose.
My personality type always finds rules easier to obey if I understand the reason they exist. In a pandemic, my small frustrations are nothing compared to the struggles of medical providers working long hours, running short of protective equipment, and facing agonizing life-and-death decisions. Remembering that I’m doing my part to protect both those vulnerable to the disease and the people caring for them makes it easier for me to put up with my increasingly shrinking world.
But we do need peace in addition to purpose. Jesus himself said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV). That peace will be a shield for our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7) against scary news, loneliness, and anxiety. Call out to Jesus whenever you need it, and reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ, who are his hands and feet. That verse above, in context, is in fact quite reassuring.
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:8-10 NIV)
Finally, I leave you with this last piece of humor, one of those memes circulating on social media. For the first time in history, we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV and doing nothing. LET’S NOT SCREW THIS UP.