The news keeps getting worse. Uncertainties abound – both shortterm and longterm.. There’s no escaping the fact you’re living in a new normal. You wonder whether anything will ever be the same. You try hard to keep a stiff upper lip – in fact, you even try to make lemonade from the lemons COVID-19 has given you – but it doesn’t always seem to work. You’re anxious. You’re exhausted. And there are moments when you don’t know what to do – but you’re not sure how much longer you can keep it. You’re anxious. You’re afraid. And you’re exhausted. So what can you do? Run to Jesus. Run to Jesus – who loves you passionately. Run to Jesus – whose arms are wide open. Run to Jesus – who is waiting for you. Run to Jesus – who is speaks these words directly to you,
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
I come to You raw, uncertain and at times afraid. I confess there are moments when my doubt overwhelms me. So all I can do is pray words that express my heart and trust that they will become perfect to You through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I give thanks for doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, those in stores and supply chains, the military, first responders, our governmental leaders and so many others as they cope with this tremendous crisis. Bless them with a double portion and keep them strong, wise, safe and compassionate.
I pray for all those who are dying, ill or quarantined from COVID-19. Bring them comfort and strength, and help them experience the fullness of your love in Jesus. And just as Jesus and the early church trusted You enough to ask for healing, I ask You now that this disease will be cured in the strong name, awesome power and endless love of Jesus.
I pray for myself in the face of a disruptive crisis I have never experienced in my 66 years of living. Keep me in touch with You in the depths of my soul. Fill my heart with Your joy so I can experience abundant life even in this moment and see the future with hope. Help me find every possible opportunity to witness to Jesus’ love, both through words and actions, in the unique ways only I can.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
You are doing your best day-by-day coping with COVID-19. But you’re also overwhelmed with unanswerable questions one moment, fear the next and hopeless the next. Will you contract it? How is this going to affect your children? What’s going to happen with your job, the bills and your retirement? Will life ever be the same? Can you really have any hope? All of these feelings, fears and questions are real. And understandable. And normal. And it’s okay to voice them. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s absolutely necessary. But never, never, never let them define you – let God do that. Let God love you and cherish you every moment of every day. Let Jesus shower you with grace every breath you take. And let the Holy Spirit show you the way forward – one day at a time.
COVID-19 has already turned everything upside down and changed life as you know it. The sobering reality is that it will do so even more in the coming days and weeks. It’s an uncertain, even scary, time. But you still get to choose how you are going to respond. You can choose to respond to COVID-19 with fear, cynicism or despair – or you can choose to give thanks for all the blessings you see in its midst. Choose to give thanks. Give thanks for all those on the front lines who are treating this disease, often at great risk to themselves. Give thanks for people who are continuing to provide essential services so you have food, electricity and other basics. Give thanks for “Good Samaritans” who are helping those who are forgotten or on the margins. Give thanks for those leaders who are calmly providing guidance and important information to the public about the reality of the pandemic. Give thanks for pastors who are offering spiritual leadership in a loving and faithful way. And most importantly, give thanks that God is still God, Jesus is still Lord and the Holy Spirit is still at work.
COVID-19 is teaching me so much. Actually, it’s more appropriate to say that seeing how those of you who love Jesus are responding to COVID-19 is teaching me so much. I see laity buying food for their elderly friends who have to self-quarantine, and putting it on their front porch. Congregations who are taking their food pantries to the streets so those who are hungry can still be served. Children’s ministers who are making online family Christian activities available. Pastors who are learning to livestream Bible studies and small groups. And on and on and on. So what am I learning from you as you do these things? When your love of Jesus is compelling enough, your mission clear enough, your passion contagious enough and your commitment deep enough – you will find ways to be Jesus’ disciples who transform lives, communities and the world regardless of what’s going on in the world. That’s because faith is never strangled by a crisis, it always flourishes in a crisis!
Your kids’ schools have closed. You have to work from home. You’re told not to go to church. And on top of all of that, you are supposed to stay home and remain isolated. It’s hard to process all the things you are suddenly having to do differently without having any time to prepare. But you are doing it. In fact, you are discovering that many of the things you have thought were so important aren’t nearly as important as you have assumed – and you are suddenly gaining greater clarity about what matters most in life. What is more, you are realizing you don’t necessarily want to go back to the way things were – and you are going to do your best to ensure that you don’t when life becomes ‘normal’ again. But the most awesome thing of all is how Jesus keeps showing up to assure you that there is nothing that can separate you from him when you are in a relationship with him. Not even this COVID-19 Pandemic.