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.
As I finish reading today’s devotion, my eyes filled with tears, I see outside the window the bright orange sun coming up from the rooftops across the way. The sky with its unique blue and its swirling white cotton clouds and I see God before me giving me peace in this time of anxiousness. Remembering this – I do not walk alone. Thank you for these daily devotions!
Stacey, Thanks for engaging the devotionals! You are not walking alone. While we might be apart, we’re in this together. Blessings to you!
My eyes filled with tears reading your words – – God giving you peace in this time of anxiousness.
I’m seeing God’s goodness today in our ability to worship online as a Body of Christ. Had this pandemic come 10 years earlier, we wouldn’t have had the technology to stay connected as we do today. I’m seeking His Presence, for it is His peace that my heart and mind so desperately need this day.
It is interesting, I gave up social media for lent -because I was so tired of the hate/harsh/uglieness of it all. Obviously with what is happening our world, I logged back in, but I am only seeing the beauty in how we can use these tools.
God was present at our kitchen table this morning. My husband and I sat there, worshipping via the online streaming of our church’s Sunday service. Tears of gratitude rolled down our cheeks. God is connecting people in the wilderness.
God met you at the table – what a beautiful reminder! While there are many ways technology can separate us, right now, it’s an absolute blessing.
This devotional in addition to my pastor’s message on YouTube have helped fill my need to connect with other Christians during this scary time. I am grateful for family and friends who were worshiping with me today.
Gail, we’re giving God thanks for you and all the new ways we’re finding to connect as people of faith.
I feel exactly the same, except its fueled by anger. I feel like a lot of this “confusion” is being caused by people with selfish motives -and that makes me angry. I don’t like feeling angry:especially when their is no appropriate place to put the anger.
Greg, praying for wisdom and peace to help you know where to place your anger and experience Christ’s peace.
Where do I see God’s goodness? As odd as it may be God’s goodness is in the fact the where I live, an independent senior facility, we are “confined” to our apartments. We can come and go as need be, we just can’t congregate as we once did. Yes, for some, like myself who are people persons it is a little tough; but, I am no stranger to solitude either so I will be OK. I also see God’s goodness in what I see as grass turns green, daffodils, crocuses and forsythia bloom and know that the snowdrops are blanketing a hillside at Sharon Woods Metro Park and the Witch Hazel has (is blooming) bloomed at Inniswood Garden. God is in the promise of new life in a new season.
Praying for you and all of the other residents. Enjoy the beauty of nature – what a great way to remember the promise of new life!
This is a beautiful devotional. I saw God today when I took a Zumba class via Zoom and saw all the faces would otherwise see everyday! It made me smile and helped me through the rest of the day. It reminds me there is good/God sightings all around us, we just have to look.
Amen! God is all around us. Giving God thanks for tech to start the day off right!