I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Maybe it’s even gone on for a month. You too?
People who have been part of the landscape all the years of my life have been leaving this world. I allowed publishing and deadline frustrations to load me with stress. A few physical annoyances have been reminding me how many years I’ve put on this body. And quarantines and social distancing left me feeling a bit detached from everything and everybody. As my granddaughter so perceptively pointed out, we introverts have finally gotten what we always thought we wanted—but it’s been an overdose.
What have you been wrestling with?
I’ve listened to at least three times more sermons in the last few months than ever before in my life. I’ve had more time to spend in the Word. On Facebook, in blogs, and by other virtual connections, believers have been encouraging others with uplifting words throughout this pandemic and the toxic political and social atmosphere. I have even gone back to read some sections in my own Hope Knows books, reminding myself of what I say I believe and how I want to live that out.
In spite of all that, I was struggling to be who I want to be and to live the way I want to live.
As I started out this morning on a walk under cloudy skies, my jacket zipped up to my chin because it’s chilly today, all I was hoping for was a brisk waking up. But, out of the blue—oh, what a silly phrase that is. It wasn’t out of the blue; it was straight out of my Father’s hand.
From the breath of His Spirit came a rising tide of joy.
He brought to mind four specific things I’ve heard or read over the last few weeks. Understand, these are things I’ve known forever. I’ve even written some version of the same things myself. But they had not worked their way out into my living during the last month. This morning, these things came with sharp clarity. And simply brought joy.
* His Word always holds true. His promises are for every time, every season, every situation in which we find ourselves. No restriction, quarantine, or shutdown suspends His truths. Living by His promises can be more powerful now than ever before.
* I’m working with Paul Stutzman on his next book, The Miracle Journey. It’s about restoration after devastation in our lives. One chapter that I particularly like is about finding ourselves stripped of everything and held captive within prison walls of grief, loss, pain. Those walls, though, can be broken down, and from the rubble of prisons, we can build mansions.
This virus has stripped away so much of life as we knew it. We might feel like prisoners. But we don’t have to wait until it’s over to take down the walls of our prison and build anew. We do have to rebuild our lives, but we aren’t prisoners, and we can be building those mansions right now. Might as well get started.
* A small sign in Winesburg, Ohio, caught my eye this week: “Even the tiniest spark cannot be extinguished by the darkness.”
* A quote from Darren Whitehead, pastor at Church of the City, Franklin, TN: “We are the people God has chosen to carry His light in these times.”
Light your world today. And “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)