It was the start of the worldwide pandemic, and we were still weeks away from lockdown. Yet the news of what was heading toward us was beginning to cause panic and anxiety.
TV cameras were panning grocery store shelves, which had been emptied of toilet paper and disinfecting wipes. I vividly remember pawing through the freezer to take an inventory of our food supply, which I recognize is a luxury that many people around the world don’t have. I investigated my own toilet paper stash, calculated savings, and started to worry about, well . . . everything — my health, my aging parents, an immunocompromised friend with cancer, food supply chains, farmers in our community, including my husband. Our daughter is a high school senior, and I began to worry about all the “lasts” she would miss.
The one consistent pattern in my life was worry, worry, worry.
Little by little, more of our lives were shut down. The calendar was cleared of almost everything, including nonessential medical and dental appointments. As the pandemic wore on, there was only one thing that weakened worry’s grip on my heart — the Word.
I realize that I just delivered the most obvious, Sunday-school answer ever for solving the age-old problem of worry. Basically, it’s this: Read your Bible. But let me tell you what I’m learning: Sometimes the most obvious, simplest answer of all is the right one.
In the middle of a storm, the Word of God is the life raft to bring your heart home.
The Word is more than a history lesson or a set of instructions on how to live. It is the very revelation of God. It’s sharper than a sword and more tender than a mother’s embrace. It is water and air. It is life.
The way out of worry is by walking along a path paved with God’s Word. For me, in this crazy time in our world’s history, that path has been paved with Scripture. Many verses have come alive in a whole new way. Five of them have nurtured my soul deeply in these past months, and so I am sharing them with you today, dear friend.
1. “They will have no fear of bad news” (Psalm 112:7 NIV).
During those first days on the worry path, God met me with this very verse. The words leapt off the page. Psalm 112 tells us that one of the advantages of having faith in God, is being able to stand firm in the midst of trial. God guards the minds of those who walk with him. The Psalmist says that with God, we will have “no fear of bad news.” In short, we have a good-news God for every bad-news day.
2. “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1 NIV).
These are the verses that launch into a story about Jesus spending forty days in the wilderness. Jesus was in a sort of quarantine, social-distanced for quite some time. The entire story is worth re-reading because Jesus has great instructions for us on how to function in a wilderness. But take note of how the story begins. Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, and He was led by the Spirit. The same goes for you. The Holy Spirit is in you, and He is leading you.
3. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV).
Life is a strange mix of joy and sorrow, birth and death, tearing down and building up. There is a time for embracing, and a time to refrain from it. Before social-distancing, it was hard to imagine a time where we would refrain from embracing people in tight hugs. But the seasons will turn again, for there really is a time for everything, and once more we will embrace.
4. “I’m down. But I’m not out. I’m sitting in the dark right now. But God is my light” (Micah 7:8 MSG).
In hard times, I hold tight to the assurance that God will carry me out of the darkness and into the light. He, Himself, is the Light who leads the way.
5. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).
What a reminder! Nothing stands between us and the love of God. And furthermore, all the things we had in Christ before the pandemic are true in the midst of it.
What verses have given you hope during this trying time in our history?
Nothing stands between us and the love of God. And furthermore, all the things we had in Christ before the pandemic are true in the midst of it. -@dukeslee: Click To Tweet