Changes in routine, like the Covid19 quarantine, can cause feelings of isolation, boredom, or hysteria. It exposes vulnerabilities that in normal times, we can suppress, ignore, or hide. We grow restless, or worse, when our usual distractions are taken away and we are left with nothing but our thoughts and the realities of life. There is time and often need for self-examination and reflection of where we’ve been, where we are, and in what direction we’re headed. It’s in these times that we can have the clarity to hear what the Spirit is trying to say. His words may be hard, even unbearable. Running away may look really appealing. And while movement may be required, away is not an option because when we run, we run with what He was wanting to address. We can return to where we were. Neither of these options will produce change. Or, we can choose to move forward in surrender to His plan. The Christian life is never static. It is either surrendering forward or sliding back. There’s no resting place or arriving point on this side of Glory. The war will rage until the King of Peace comes to earth and makes peace and we, my friends, are embroiled in this battle, whether we want to be or not.
Returning to “normal” as many are desiring, will only bring us back around to where we are now. That may be okay for some people but as one who sees a need for personal change, surrendering forward is the only option. Depending on where you are coming from, that may look very scary. You may feel your plate is already full of trouble and brokenness and what if surrendering forward will only add to where you are now before bringing you through to goodness? God will always take what the enemy means for evil and bring good out of it, but what is frightening is that we don’t know what route He will take to get us there or if we can possibly have the stamina to do it. The struggle is real. I know. I’ve been there. I am there. I don’t like to admit that I sometimes get a little suspicious of God, but I do. I know that He is for me but I don’t always understand His methods. And sometimes, His methods don’t make sense. And most times, His methods are not easy on my flesh.
In her book “Uninvited”, Lysa Terkeurst poses the following questions. Do I think God is good? Do I think God is good to me? Do I think that God is good at being God? I’ve been seriously pondering these questions, conducting an honest examination of where I have been in life and what my future might look like. I’m taking a look at the “Covid19 “unedited version” of myself and allowing God to point His light fingers at the parts of my heart that, on a normal day, I try to hide from Him. He’s pulling out the things that I push way down because they’re painful or shameful to look at. I especially don’t want to discuss them with Him! But truth be told, they are there and they affect me more than I realize. They have, in many ways, determined my “normal” up to this point. They have to come into the light of God’s love. And when they do, God does what He does best. He takes them and replaces them with healing and goodness and peace. Not temporary peace, not false peace, but peace that resides, that abides and is constant, no matter my circumstances and no matter what my “forward” looks like. And now, more than ever, people need the peace that only comes from Him and through Him.
As I was walking by the creek, I was reciting Psalm 23 out loud and thinking about how each stanza applies to my life. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing! He leads me to places of refreshment and nourishment so that my life is good. Even in the dark shadows, I don’t fear. His rod protects me and His staff keeps me close to Him. He prepares a table for me and lets my enemies know that I am His prized possession and he marks me with the oil of His Holy Spirit. Not only do I lack nothing, but I have all that I need in abundance. Surely, definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, goodness and mercy (neither of which I deserve), will follow me all the days of my life.
So what will my response be? I will “lean in” and let my walls down before God. He knows my heart and loves me anyway. His eyes see through to everything I am trying to hide, even to the things I have tried to hide from myself. The things I’ve put away to deal with another day, in Scarlet O’Hara fashion, need to be put on the table. I’m running to Him, not from Him. Isolation only brings trouble. The devil loves us to isolate ourselves from God and each other. It’s where he does his best work. Eve was without Adam in the garden when the devil deceived her. And in this time of uncertainty in life, I must trust that God is good to me. I must believe that He is good at being God. And as Lysa adds, that “Today is yet another page in our great love story.” .