Everyday life changes for us a little bit more. We are used to our normal fast pace and our consistent routines. In the past 7 days it has all changed.
Things that we took for granted a week ago are suddenly rare commodities. Toilet paper, baby wipes, cleaning products all cleared off of the grocery store shelves. A week ago, we sat in church with 2000 people, as of today, we are limited to 10. The routine of sending our kids to school then heading to sports practice has all stopped in a week. So much has changed, so fast.
How are you?
Have you stopped long enough to check in with yourself and see how you are? When asked that at a meeting today, a friend said, “I am catching my breath.” I thought, me too, that was a good way to describe it.
We are used to going at such a fast pace that it feels eerie and downright uncomfortable to stop so quickly when we are used to going at such a fast pace. Although many of us get warm fuzzies when we think of sitting on the couch for two weeks eating Bon Bon’s, the reality is, we don’t have that luxury.
Some of us work and have kids who are out of school which causes a whole different challenge. Others of us have kids at home who after three days of isolation are manifesting WWF moves and some of us already feel alone and the thought of not being able to go out to be with others is devastating.
This is hard.
It is OK to say this is hard. In a rapidly changing society, the new normal may change any minute. There is no quick fix, no magic words that can suddenly make this all better. Until this virus tapers off, this is our new normal. This is hard.
But We Can Point to Hope
We can point to the hope that we have in Jesus. in the midst of uncertainty, we have strength, peace and hope in Christ. Although this is a surprise to us, this is not a surprise to God. He is with us.
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8
If I take a moment and ‘catch my breath,’ I can focus my attention on His Spirit that fills me and is with me. Focusing on Him in times of uncertainty, brings a peace to us that is more powerful than what we can see.
This week, I have tried to keep my focus on the words that Jesus said to His disciples as His time on earth was nearing an end.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:25-27.
There are so many nuggets in those three verses.
The disciples had the privilege of being with Jesus in person and hearing his teaching. Jesus is assuring them that even though He will not be with them in bodily form, the Holy Spirit, His inward presence, will be with them and remind them of what Jesus taught them.
Jesus speaks of two gifts that He gives us, the Holy Spirit and peace.
This peace that Jesus is speaking of can’t be bought. It is not available at the grocery store and can’t be sold out. It can only be given as a free gift, because it has already been paid for.
When I think of peace, sometimes I think of security. If my relationships, my situation, my finances are secure then, I am at peace. Other times, I equate peace with control. If I feel like I am in control and things are predictable, then I am at peace.
What brings you peace?
In the days when this passage was written, “Peace” or in Hebrew, “Shalom” was said as a greeting such as hello or a goodbye. It was a way of wishing peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility.
Those are all things that we have in Jesus. If we can point to him and not to the chaos going on in the world around us, we can experience all of these things. It has to do with focus, what we focus on we empower in our lives.
I love when Peter takes the courageous step out of the boat to walk on the water. Matthew 14:29-30 tells us that Jesus said to Peter, “Come.” Peter then got out of the boat and walked on water. Peter had his focus on Jesus, the impossible was possible. Then in verse 30, Peter took his focus off Jesus. When he saw the wind, he began to sink.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matt 14:30
What does the wind look like in our lives today?
Maybe it’s going to the store to get the only food your child will eat and the shelves are empty.
The wind may look like the stress of wondering if you can pay the employees of your restaurant.
Perhaps the wind is financial stress of watching your investments fluctuate drastically.
There are many opportunities for us today to focus on the wind and empower its fear in our lives. But when we focus on Jesus, we empower His peace and His Holy Spirit instead.
These gifts do not grant us exemption from the storms of life, but promise us the power and the peace to weather any storm.David Guzik
In a self-protective climate, it is refreshing to see people helping people. On social media, there are people with extra vegetables, baby wipes, and toilet paper sharing them with complete strangers.
I am convinced that for every toilet paper and hand sanitizer hoarder in the world, there are more people who will choose to love, to serve, and to sacrifice for others. When we are there for each other we are at our best, that encourages the strength to weather the storm.
Let’s Reclaim our focus in the midst of the storm therefore, empowering more of His Spirit and peace.
We would love to stand with you in prayer.
In the comments below, feel free to share your prayer requests or thoughts on Reclaiming our focus in these uncertain times.