When the World Shuts Down, Turn to Jesus.
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Quite honestly, it feels a little weird to compile a list of my favorite Easter books for toddlers, when the world right now feels pretty scary and uncertain. I have a lot of emotions right now. I am a bit fearful, a little confused, and in my human nature, quite disappointed about the Boston Marathon officially being cancelled. More on the whole marathon situation in an upcoming post. So for now the Easter book post I previously scheduled can wait, I think this is more important.
Every morning, with my cup of coffee, I start my day by reading the day’s devotional from Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. These past two mornings, I have so felt the Holy Spirit moving. The devotionals so spoke into everything that is going on with the spread of COVID-19 and the fear and the slew of cancellations.
Yesterday morning, I read the following:
If you mourn the fallenness of your world rather than curse its difficulties, you know that grace has visited you.
Tripp goes on to write, “Now, there are really only two responses we can have to the brokenness that complicates all of our lives: cursing or mourning. Let’s be honest. Cursing is the more natural response. We curse the fact that we have to deal with flawed people. We curse the fact that we have to deal with things that don’t work right. We curse the fact that we have to deal with pollution and disease. We curse the fact that promises get broken, relationships shatter, and dreams die…Cursing is the wrong response…Mourning is the much better response. Mourning embraces the tragedy of the fall. Mourning acknowledges that the world is not the way God meant it to be. Mourning cries out for God’s restoring, redeeming hand. Mourning acknowledges the suffering of others. Mourning is about something bigger than the fact that life is hard. Mourning, then, is a response that is prompted by grace.” (Tripp).
I basically just typed up the entire devotional, but it is that good. I read this on the morning where it felt like the whole world began to shut down. It sure is easy to curse and complain when we are living through a very clear example of our world’s brokenness. Things are clearly not the way they should be. Cursing doesn’t remove the panic, the virus, or the disappointment. Mourning is a response that says yes, I see this, the world is not functioning properly, and God, I trust that you will redeem our world and heal and bring peace.
Everything that has happened in the past week has reminded me of a few very important things. First and foremost that I am not in control, God is. Secondly, I need to be very careful to what my heart clings to. When all our carefully laid out plans begin to get cancelled, it is a time to reflect and see where our treasure truly lies. It is natural to feel disappointment when things you were looking forward to are not happening in the way you expected, but you can’t stay there.
Everything going on in the world right now is the perfect example of why your identity cannot be in your sport, your profession, or even church gatherings. How will your heart respond when the entire season is cancelled? Or when the big work project you have been working on for months get cancelled? Or when church gatherings are not happening this Sunday? Does your identity go beyond what you do in your week?
In this time, I am convinced that the right move is NOT letting the panic seep into your soul, but to have faith that this too will pass. I must admit, I have been a bit glued to my phone and I have let the panic on social media affect me. During this time, I need less social media, and more solid, truth, which I know I can only find in God’s word.
If you too, are feeling anxious, confused, and unsettled, here are 5 Psalms that are greatly helping with my own anxiety and uncertainty. I encourage you to put the phone down for a bit, turn the news off for a little, and open up God’s word. And just see what this does for your heart.
Psalm 13: A Psalm of Trust
“But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously” -Psalm 13: 5-6
Psalm 16: A Psalm of Confidence
“I will bless the Lord who counsels me- even at night when my thoughts trouble me. I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand. I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my body also rests securely” -Psalm 16:7-9
Psalm 22: A Psalm of Remembrance
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning. My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. But you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you rescued them. They cried to you and were set free; they trusted in you and were not disgraced” -Psalm 22: 1-5
Psalm 27: A Psalm of Strength
“The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-whom should I dread? When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell. Though an army deploys against me, my heart will not be afraid; though a war breaks out against me, I will still be confident.” -Psalm 27:1-3
Psalm 56: A Psalm of Protection
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose words I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” -Psalm 56:3-4
In this very weird time in our world, let’s turn our hearts to Jesus. Let’s trust that God is working, even when we don’t see it. And let’s be people who are prayerful, not panicked.
Stay safe, all! Wash your hands, be considerate of others that might be in even more stressful and challenging situations, and ultimately trust that the Lord will bring peace and restoration.
God is bigger than all of this.
If you are wondering what to do tomorrow morning. Can I suggest something? Our church, along with many others will be holding online services. Even if you are not a believer, this could be an opportunity to learn more about who God is. It can also act as a place of comfort and community in this strange time. You can find the online service here tomorrow (Sunday morning).