In hospitals and in homes, people are gasping for breath worldwide.
And our nation is holding its breath to see what happens next. Will the economy tank? Whose lives will be lost?
What will be the personal cost?
Death fills the news and our thoughts. And we didn't see it coming. We celebrated Christmas without a whisper of an idea about a global, life-shaping virus just a few months back.
There's a lot of grief and gravity and fear in this situation, and some are hit harder than others. I wince for people cramped in small rooms in cities, and we should weep and pray for those dying alone in sterilized rooms.
But even as we grieve and we pray, there is light in this darkness. There are lanterns in what seems a land of shadow.
Many of us can help others so much now by this one word: stay.
Stay put. Stay still. Stay loving your family. Stay loving your neighbor. Stay listening for the Lord.
And even as worry knocks on the doors of our hearts, we can sit and stay in our homes, and wait on the Lord. And we can watch and see all the good things He is doing in the midst of suffering.
I watch my neighbors stroll by in the mornings and evenings, their laughter echoing across the front pasture and bouncing off the yellow flowers. And I laugh at funny videos, and I cry with joy to read stories of great heroism and love happening the world over. My sister and I play the Wii and talk, and the evenings bring long and sweet rides on my horse. People are creating and reading and finding ways to fellowship in quarantine. It amazes me. Thank the Lord - He is always bringing hope and unexpected good in all circumstances. He brought me such a gift last week, when I wrote this on social media:
"Haha! For I only want to laugh and to sing or to sit in solemn joy. It has been a strange thing happening these last couple days.
It's like a rebirth of sight - an unexpected, marvelous gift - a growing, fresh delight in the green lawn of my yard, in the wildness of the wood, in the spreading flowers that blanket the meadows and fields of the land surrounding my house. Mostly, I have gone only where I could run and bike and ride and have had the most ridiculous abundance of time for reading - reading a very good book, a story like Narnia that has given me the chills from its beauty (called Shiloh by Sorenson).
I hope this feeling never passes, but it probably shall. But it has been sweet.
Walking outside, the surest understanding comes to me that the Lord Himself crafted each flower and bird and snail and neighbor on the anvil of His holy imagination and blows His life into it all like light.
The great conviction that I am never alone, but that He walks with me always, that I dwell in His house and walk His lands, and that He loves me so and will not leave me, has consumed me like a bright fire. May it be so with you. In the darkness, this darkness, where I worry for my grandmother and fear the unknown, and where many are suffering trials I have not known, He still shines and knows and loves, and the hope He offers cannot be extinguished, by any human hand or virus or grief. May your belief that He is your Father and you his child increase. May your knowledge of His great grace and power increase.
His peace and blessings on you during this time of trouble, my friend.
Go under the mercy. "Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere." - Psalm 84:10"
Though things look grim, and many are dying, there is life beyond death, and there are workings beyond mortal sight. And we can stay and sit and rejoice. Spring has still come, and the flowers are blooming all around. The Maker is doing things we can't imagine, so let us partner in prayer over these days, and rest in Jesus Christ, our hope, our resurrection, our life, our joy, as we approach Easter in the shadow of death. Christ has overcome death and darkness. Share His hope with those around you. Don't forget where hope is found.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."