A new survey says that while some of us feel that the pandemic brought us closer to family, few of us report feeling closer to God. Only 28% said the pandemic had strengthened their faith.
If I was surveyed, I don’t think I would’ve said my faith is stronger. I would’ve said, “I don’t know yet. When I stop hanging onto God for dear life, I’ll let you know.”
A wise proverb says: “Life is lived forwards and learned backwards.” Only in retrospect can we see how things fit together; how events have shaped us; and how God has helped us.
During the lockdown, I was stunned by all the empty grocery shelves. I needed a mask, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves. I found none. But I did find a few cans of Spaghettios. I don’t remember exactly what I ate with groceries emptied and restaurants closed, but I’m still here. Can you remember how you adapted when everything changed? Given our grief and exhaustion, it’s hard recalling just how we survived. And maybe we don’t have to. Maybe the only thing we need to know is that we did survive. When you don’t know how you’re gonna make it, but you do make it – that’s a God thing. Maybe just recognizing that in hindsight is enough.
Early in the pandemic, with supply chains swamped and none available, I miraculously found one bottle of hand sanitizer. I used it sparingly, knowing it had to last. And it did!
Elijah, how’d you escape from Ahab? Well, ravens fed me – then a widow fed me. Her little bit of meal – it’s a miracle it lasted. Somehow – by the grace of God – we made it.
How’d you make it through the pandemic? I don’t know how, but I did my work AND kept my kids’ schooling on track. It’s a miracle I didn’t kill them. Somehow – by the grace of God – we made it.
When you don’t know how you’re gonna make it, but you do make it – that’s a God thing. That’s the God, who took care of Elijah, taking care of you. It might not be a Hollywood–worthy MIRACLE, but then most of God’s miracles aren’t. Mostly God just gives us what we need today and then tomorrow we get what we need tomorrow. Which really shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” — which usually comes in unexpected ways, but which always comes on time to give us what we need. For today. And tomorrow tomorrow.
Guess what? You can live your entire life that way. Free from worry. You do that when you trust that “the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” I shall lack for nothing because God is who God is supposed to be and God does what God is supposed to do. That’s faith, which is often hard to hold onto, but thankfully God isn’t. It isn’t hard to hold onto God because God’s already holding onto us. And when we’re too exhausted to hold on, that’s okay because underneath us are the everlasting arms.
Yes, the pandemic continues. But God is on the job. God invites us to be on the job, too. To mourn with the grieving; to share with the suffering; and to build with God and our neighbors a brighter tomorrow, which shall come. There’s always going to be enough meal in the jar; enough oil in the jug; enough grace in our lives until God gets the job done. Trust that; live that; and fear not tomorrow. God is already there.
In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:
“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”
Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” The good news is that that definitely includes YOU!