Lenten Daily Devotional • 04/02/2020

Devotion from Julie Williams, originally written for a meeting of the Mountain View Lutheran Church Council.

I have heard the work crazy spoken in a variety of conversations and/or instances in the past few weeks as we all react to the current circumstances we are facing, let’s face it this is an unprecedented time for all of us.  Whoever thought we would have to restructure worship, be ordered to stay in place, see businesses and schools closed.  It is a crazy and mind-blowing time.  We struggle with adjusting to our new normal.  We struggle to minimize fear and admit that we have minimal control over this virus.  We fight fear and depression and struggle to find joy or a sense of hope in the darkness.

I pulled out Pastor John’s prescription of scripture that he provided to Mark and me during our cancer journey and under the title “Protection Psalm” is listed Psalm 70.  It reads:

Be pleased oh God to deliver me.

Oh Lord make haste to help me!

Let those be put to shame and confusion who seek my life.

Let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire to hurt me.

Let those who say, Aha, Aha!  Turn back because their shame.

Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.

Let those who love your salvation say evermore God is great.

But I am poor and needy, hasten to me oh God.

You are my help and my deliverer.

Oh Lord do not delay!

In my research for this devotion, I found the following article by Tavier Westbrool, entitled “Feel Like the World has Gone Crazy?”

It states:

With eroding morals, dirty politics, rampant racism and corruption (and I am adding, a pandemic) it feels like the world has gone crazy, but you don’t have to.

Protect your peace.  When the world threatens to disrupt your peace, remember the words of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  In John 14:27, he said, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Guard your thoughts.  If your brain is cluttered with the wrong things, this adds to your stress.  Do what scripture prescribes and change what you’re thinking about.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

Talk to God about it.   Instead of taking your gripes to social medial or becoming consumed with the latest insane and inane gossip and foolishness, take your issues to the Lord.  Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.”

Stay busy minding your own business.  There’s an old saying that goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  On the other hand, when you occupy yourself with the affairs of your own household, you’ll be better off.  Don’t be the people about which 2 Thessalonians 3:11 says, “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.”

Seek opportunities to do good.  There’s enough bad happening in the world, so be intentional about spreading goodness.  This pleases God and makes you feel great too.  Galatians 6:10 says: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” 

Be a light in the darkness.  Why let darkness frustrate you when you can be a bright light that chases the shadows away?  Isaiah 58:10 says, “[A]nd if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

Remember, times like these have been prophesied:  God is not surprised by this chaotic world where many are self-seeking, rebellious and depraved.  2 Timothy 3 tells you to expect these things in the “last days”.  So how do you handle it without going crazy?  Paul tells Timothy in verse 14, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from you have learned it.” That’s great advice indeed!

Know that God is in control.  Let’s face it:  life feels out of control, especially these days.  But, in the face of political ward and personal crises-despite who’s in the White House, or what is going on in your house-God is in control.  Psalm 22:28 says, “for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.”

Expect God to calm the raging storm:  Often God allows stormy seasons to test your faith.  But keep in mind, the same Jesus who calmed the raging storm in the Bible, can do it today, in your household, neighborhood and nation.  Mark 4:39 says, “He got up, rebuked the wind an said to the waves, “Quiet!  Be Still!”  Then the wind died the seas were still.

You don’t have to fight your own battles!  You will exhaust yourself by attempting to fight battles in your own strength.  Lean and depend on the One to whom victory belongs.  Proverbs 21:31 tells you, “The horse is prepared for the battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”  Trouble may be everywhere, but so is our omnipresent God.  When everything seems to be falling apart, God will hold your mind and entire life together if you trust him.

One bonus scripture to add is found in Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

In conclusion, we as leadership at Mountain View can rely on each other even via Zoom or six feet apart.  But most importantly we rely on our faith and a Lord that calmed the seas.

Peace be with you.

Let us pray:

Lord we acknowledge our fear.  We acknowledge our inability to anticipate what is going to happen next.  We acknowledge our lack of patience and understanding and our feelings of craziness.  In you Lord we trust.  In you Lord we ask for guidance as this leadership is faced with making decisions that are difficult, unprecedented and extremely challenging.  We ask your guidance both in our personal lives and for our church.  Lead us.  Guide us.  Remind us that you will answer our plea for help.  For you are great and though we are poor and needy you are our help and our deliverer.  For that we rejoice and are glad.  Amen.

Image: “Deus in adiutorium meum intende Domine ad adiuvandum me festina,” illuminated manuscript from the Mainz Book of Hours, 1450.