How are you?
by Rev. Jennifer Lucas
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
A friend called on day 4 of being quarantined at home with my kids (16, 13 and 8), “how are you?” they asked. I didn’t know how to answer the question.
Was my family healthy? Yes. Was everyone safe? Yes. Was I able to work from home and kids all have devices to do their schoolwork? Yes. Did we all have food in our bellies and toilet paper in our bathrooms? Yes. So my answer should have been, “we are doing well.”
But I wasn’t.
Words running through my head with the question, “How are you?” Vulnerable – overwhelmed – afraid – irritated – confused – helpless – exasperated – alone.
These were all of the emotions (probably 1000 more) I wanted to blurt out. I look out my window and everything looks normal.
The sky is blue (well, I am in Ohio, so grey). Trees are starting to bloom. Nothing is out of place in my home (except the mess of my kids, but that is normal). Everything looks normal, but this is not normal. I feel off.
God never promised that our day to day journey of life would be easy, or that living as people of faith would mean a life of convenience and comfort. Just as the spirit of God sent Jesus into the wilderness (Mark 1), so we too are sent into seasons of wilderness; and right now, COVID-19 is our wilderness.
Reading the Isaiah passage is a comfort in my no longer “normal” days. The Jews were in exile when they heard from the prophet Isaiah; they were being reminded to have no fear. We too feel in exile, banished from our normal life, but may we be reminded to fear not, for God is with us. As David wrote in Psalm 27:1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
So, I am looking for reminders of why I should not fear. Why I should not have doubt. Where am I seeing light? Where am I witnessing God’s hand?
As I sit in my office, I hear two of my children running through the home, on a scavenger hunt they put together. My husband is now home from the hospital after a long day of caring for patients and I hear him talking with our oldest. The sun decided to peek out from the clouds for one final hello before it sets for the night, and I have been given an opportunity to write to you – people I do not know – but whom I am given the privilege to send my prayer for, along with these words.
How am I?
I’m okay. God is beautiful. God’s hand is everywhere! God is with us!
So how might you have no fear? Where are you able to see God’s goodness? God’s hand? Is there food in your cupboards? Books to read on your shelves? Coloring books to pull out? Family and friends to call on the phone? Letters to write to old classmates?
Look for the reminders of God’s hand. Pause, God will reveal God’s presence to you. God is with you. You’re okay.
Dear God, help us to focus on you today. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Presence. Direct our hearts and minds towards you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of wilderness, you’re still with us. You never leave us. You are our Lord, our Refuge and Strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Where did you see God’s goodness today?
Comment below or use a journal to record how God is with you each day of this journey.