I’m on the phone with my friend, and she’s crying. “I’m sorry,” she apologizes. “But I’m so angry.” (Anybody else felt that emotion in recent weeks?) But before I reply, my friend gets quiet. “No, actually I’m afraid.”
Indeed, our whip-sawed emotions have been through the wringer. Dare I even mention the word “pandemic” – aware that more than a few are weary of hearing about it?
Still, my friend is afraid. Her close relatives are hospital workers. “Two nieces and a cousin – all on the front lines.” But when my friend asks people to please stay home, to not rush to open their states and businesses – so hospitals aren’t overrun with more infected people – my friend gets called names. “‘Snowflake’,” she tells me. “But also worse.”
And wearing a mask? “Not in my town,” she says. “A mask means you’re a traitor. Most people don’t believe the death reports. One woman told me everybody who dies now is ‘counted as covid’ – including a man whose wife shot him during an argument.” My friend laughs at the absurdity of the situation.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
And then those locusts?
“What? Locusts?” my husband frowns, confused when I mention yet another problem. I show him news photos of “hundreds of billions” of locusts swarming now in East Africa, “threatening crops and livelihoods,” according to the BBC.
And how is that a problem of humility, you might ask? I’m struggling, indeed, to bring this all together, but we’ll start with this:
When I . . . command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people . . .
2 Chronicles 7:13 (NIV)
Yes, that’s God speaking. King Solomon is listening. He’d asked God what people could do if they sin. And no, I’m not saying the Lord sent the locusts or the coronavirus – especially not as punishment for one sin or another.
As a metaphor for bad times, however, God’s answer to Solomon is worthy of our attention. Thus, it pleads, in straightforward words, that during trying times:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
God is speaking, indeed: First, get humble. But what does He mean to “humble ourselves”?
It’s a question most of us, if we’re honest, can answer. C.S. Lewis simplifies it this way, “Humility is not thinking less of [ourselves]; it’s thinking of [ourselves] less.” In that way, then, “humbling ourselves” is all those things many of us often don’t do – ceasing from arguing, getting quiet before God (Psalm 62:1 NLT) and before one another.
Reflecting on such things and desperate, as you are, for healing in our land – and across our world – I challenged myself to list ways I can be humble:
- Get quiet before God.
- Seek the Lord’s face – that is, His presence.
- Abide in Him, tarrying in His way.
- Confess my sin to God and to others.
- Cease to judge.
- Be gracious.
- Be lowly.
Or, as my late mother would say, “Girl, hush.” Then quiet, on our faces before God, we hear His remarkable voice:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
Yes, being humble makes us more like Jesus — the Healer of our land and of us. At His feet, we rest in His beautiful presence — praying, turning from our wicked, ornery, resentful, tiresome, judging, hypocritical ways. Then, the sound and fury of this pandemic? He heals it. And as people work together, not against one another, He heals us.
My friend and I, discussing this, agree to stop feeding our fears and anger by turning humbly to the Lord and getting out of His way.
What follows after? Our hearts change — the soil of our spiritual land cleansed. And are we surprised? Our Father is right about how to stop plagues and locusts that afflict our territory. Get humble. Then, as we yield, He moves the mountain.
Being humble makes us more like Jesus — the Healer of our land and of us. -@PatriciaRaybon: Click To Tweet