July 27, 2020
13 One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.”
You ever have one of those days where you have problem problem - where you swear to yourself if you have one-more-crisis you are going to lose it?
Lately I think those days are happening more and more frequently as we are dealing with daily stressors, issues and problems related to COVID-19 and the potential to actually contract the illness or a member of our friends or family get ill.
A few weeks back, I was having a “normal” day at work, which for me means issue after issue, with my phone constantly ringing for crises with our clients and their families. The crises themselves have become more severe as COVID-19 has gone on with more domestic disputes are taking place as families are stuck inside with no real end in sight.
I was getting ready to end my time working I at home, getting ready to go to the office. On my way, I was scheduled to go get tested for COVID-19 just because of my potential exposure with the number of families and staff I work with.
About 30 minutes before I left, I received a text message from a friend who I visited with over the 4th of July weekend. I had made a day trip to go visit and go to one of our national parks. He shared with me that he had symptoms of Covid and tested positive the day before. So, needless to say I was already a bit worn out with the day to day stuff, and adding more to my craziness was really stressful.
So, I got tested and had to remain at home until the test results came back. Unfortunately it took 12 days to get an answer. Thankfully I was able to work from home (a blessing that many who are diagnosed or are exposed are unable to get). In the back of my mind, I was just fearful of possibly passing it along to my roommates. I was stressed because I couldn’t leave and do something as simple as grocery shopping.
It just seems that we are being faced with issue after issue and conflicting interests as to what the best next steps are for our communities, churches, and (more timely) our schools. There seems to be a lack of wisdom with many community leaders who are not operating out of safety but out of political interests who are adding the at “one more thing” to our plate of issues that we have to deal with, because that “one more thing” doesn’t just happen at the individual person level but our communities at large who have had spikes in cases and deaths because of this lack of wisdom.
What are we to do? A few things:
- We need to continue to pray for our communities and her leaders that God will work through their hearts so that decisions can be made in the best interests of our communities and the not the political interests of those who are trying to make other politicians happy
- We need to pray for those who are on the margins for this horrible illness, including people of color, folks with low incomes, women & children, folks with special needs, those who live in rural communities, folks in our correctional institutions and residential treatment
- We need to be available to our community and our church to support each other through active listening and prayer
- We need to take action so that we are part of the important decisions in our communities and demonstrate that we are able to follow guidelines to wear masks, wash our hands and maintain social distancing
I know this is not a conclusive list, but we need to put the brakes on the stress that is in our lives and our communities.
Michael and I continue to hold all of you in prayer and are here to support our entire Faith community. Let us know what we need and how we can help.
July 19, 2020
1 The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you! 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. 4 May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans. 5 May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. 6 Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. 7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God. 8 They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.
9 Give victory to the king, O Lord; answer us when we call.[a]
I don’t know about you, but the further this crisis goes on, the more stressful things seem to get and the less hopeful I think we all are feeling. This is demonstrated in a variety of ways in our communities, whether it be fought over wearing masks, our desire and lack of ability to (at times) safely socialize, the retracting of rollouts in many states where there has been a spike in diagnoses, just to name a few.
In the last few weeks, I was started project managing a new endeavor by FEMA to provide crisis consenting to those who are experiencing anxiety and loss during this time. In just a handful of weeks, my agency alone has received countless inquiries to help those experiencing this tragic time in many ways. We have provided referrals for food boxes, rental, utility assistance, and counseling.
We continue to be in a time of stress and anxiety for our communities. What are we to do?
We need to keep reminding ourselves that our hope is indeed in Christ. Christ earned our victory over trials with his acts on the cross. Sometimes, I think that we need that reassurance that God is indeed in control and that there will be a resolution to this crisis in our lives, our communities, and our nation.
We need to look at things that bring us hope - even if it’s the little things. For example, there are second-level trials being conducted on a vaccine - many months earlier than we would normally see a treatment. There are companies who are manufacturing the vials that will hold the vaccines so that we are as prepared as we can be for when it becomes available.
There are other elements of hope we can find in our communities. There are folks who are reaching out to prepare our children for the new normal of their learning this August. There are many people in our community who continue to produce masks and give it to families in need as well as frontline staff. Through this pandemic, we have learned new and different ways to engage in ministry together and have connected with other pastors and churches within our connection to participate even more in the life of our universal church.
As we move into a new week, I encourage you to look for the small pieces of hope we can find, envelop our lives in prayer, and rest in God’s perfect peace.