A lot has changed over the last few months and life as we knew it has slowly faded into the background. I’ve heard many people say, “It’s time to get back to normal.” But, what is “normal,” and do we really want to return to it? Now, let me be clear, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in our lives and has brought about many challenges, trials and tribulations. Loss of life has occurred, economic stress permeates households, and families have had to adjust to a “new normal, ” and I don’t want to ignore those hardships. Many more are weary and feeling the stress of the burdens they are carrying. We are also seeing political and civil unrest and great division sweeping across our land. These things grieve us and make us long for our former way of life. We may even feel discouraged and wonder, “Where is God?”
Yet, in the midst of the chaos and struggles, have you ever thought that we are in a divine pause or being given a time for a divine reset? We live in a fast-paced world and most people would say they don’t have time to do the things they want to do. Life passes so quickly and we don’t take the time to really enjoy it. We take many things for granted, including our family, friends, employment, food on the table, peace and even our faith. Yet, this pandemic has forced us to slow down. We have been given the opportunity to spend more quality time at home with our families. We have learned to value and appreciate the little things in life like spending time with friends, going out to eat or to the movies, our health, worshiping together, classrooms with teachers and friends, regular in-person business meetings, sporting events, hugs, and do I dare say toilet paper?
In John 16:33, Jesus says this to His disciples: 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Jesus was preparing His disciples for what was to come — trials, tribulations and sorrow. But, I want you to pay particular attention to this portion — “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.” We are indeed experiencing trials and sorrows. We are trying to cope the best we can, and yet we long for peace. My prayer for you and for every person across this world is that we find peace that is offered not in the world, but through Him.
There was a time when our family was on a hiking trip. My husband challenged us to hike a steep, narrow path up the side of the mountain. It didn’t look too daunting at first as long as I kept my eyes on the path. But, if my eyes wandered to the right, my gaze was met with what appeared to me as a sheer cliff that nearly took my breath away. As we made our way up the mountain, I tried to keep my focus, but the higher we went, the more fear began to grip me. The air was thinner, the path was narrow, and I began to realize that I really did have a fear of heights. And then it happened…I let my focus get off the path and instead it fell on two tiny red dots at the base of the mountain…two people in rain coats! I FROZE! Fear gripped me and I was paralyzed to the point that I thought they would have to fly in a helicopter to get me off the side of the mountain.
But then, I felt a gentle hand grip mine and I heard a soft voice from my young son who said to me, “Mommy, I believe in you! Get a little courage! Just put one foot in front of the other and get up this mountain!” And that is all it took. I regained my focus, took a deep breath and followed my son up the mountain. The view at the top was breathtaking. And today we can look back and chuckle and remember what a great journey we had.
There is a mountain in our path, and we have a choice. We can let fear grip us to the point of becoming paralyzed and ineffective, or we can get a little courage, regain our focus and put one foot in front of the other to keep moving ahead and up this mountain. For me, I’m going to choose moving forward, and I hope you do too. Someday, we will all look back on this and see that God has not left us. Instead, He goes before us to prepare the way, He stands behind us to guard and protect us, and when we are weary, that is when He carries us. My friends, receive His peace, take heart and don’t lose faith, for He has overcome the world!