Patient Peace In the Midst of a Pandemic

busyness

*By Dave Zuleger

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.—Lamentations 3:21–26

Worrisome Waiting

By now, you’ve had to wait on things more than you can probably remember. You can’t buy whatever you want on Amazon (not to mention that you were searching for toilet paper on Amazon in the first place!). You don’t know how long this new way of life will last. By now you probably know people you love who are being economically hurt by this crisis. You feel deep fear consuming your mind. You think about this when you wake up and before you go to bed. You forget about it as you stay busy – until that moment you actually have time to think.

The first step to persevering in this moment is admitting that this is where we are and this is how we are operating. We’re all adjusting and figuring this out as we go. But, beyond coming to grips with reality of our present predicament, what can we do in this moment?

Amazing Promises

If you were to read Lamentations before verse 21 of chapter 3 you’d find a pretty bleak, sobering, and frightening picture of life. Things were not well. The circumstances were hard and broken. Hope was low. Fear was high. Sadness was deep. Then, graciously, these promises of God break into the darkness.

  • The love of the Lord for those in Christ is steadfast (never changing!) and forever (never stopping!).

  • His mercies never cease and are new every morning. You don’t need to worry about weeks from now – you just need to rest in the mercies of today!

  • His faithfulness is great! His faithfulness has far more staying power than this virus.

  • He is good to those wait for him and seek him. We are sinners and because of Jesus goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.

These amazing promises from God give refreshment to our weary souls.

Wait and Call them to Mind

However, notice that the hope came when these promises were called to mind. The entry point for the battle of our souls right now is found in our minds. Indeed, our minds are running faster than normal. Our thoughts are consumed with fear and distracted with questions.

Now, I personally think it is good to know what is going on and to do our part so that we can love our neighbors with wisdom at this moment. But, you do not need to constantly think about the crisis. There is no need to constantly scroll social media for the latest news. It is not healthy to constantly obsess over the pandemic.

More importantly for our souls than knowing what the experts are saying on the news is to know our God. To be still before him. To stop for 5 minutes and actually call these promises to mind. To sit in silence and pray through these precious truths until we actually believe them. To let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. To have new patterns of prayer, word, and fasting rise up so that we, as the church, can be refined, refreshed, and redeployed in the love of Christ!

This is hard for us, isn’t it? We are not used to waiting. We are used to one-click instant gratification. The situation is forcing us to wait and this reality is testing us. In the testing, however, God is working. Though this virus is certainly a result of the brokenness of Genesis 3, perhaps God will turn it for good for his church to make us a people that wait on him and call his promises to mind.

Not Merely Inward

As we call these promises to mind, don’t keep them to yourself. As you are strengthened in the Lord, as his precious words serve your soul, ask him to bring creative ways to your mind that you might be able to strengthen and love others. We need each other right now. The world needs to see unshakable, self-giving Christians that love wisely and love fearlessly.

This is our moment, church! We have unshakeable hope. We have a self-giving Savior that died and rose again. We have a risen Savior that reigns in even the midst of a global crisis. “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). Trust him. Call his promises to mind. Wait on him. Be strengthened in his love by the Spirit. And then spread the love of Christ to a world fearing the spread of this virus.

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