As I reflect on the past weeks a few insights come to mind. It was March 24, 2020, that Jim Strickland, Memphis mayor, declared a “shelter in place” policy for Memphis. At that time I think I was like most people. What will this mean? How long will it last? I had retired three years earlier on February 28, 2017. Therefore I was already in a less hectic lifestyle but nothing like what “shelter in place” brought.
Time On Our Hands
For most of my adult life I lived the American dream. I had a loving wife, great kids, rewarding job, pets, nice home, good friends, and a church that gave me spiritual direction. My life consisted of eight to ten hour work days, going to our boys’ ball games, working in the yard, and doing things from that “honey do list.” To be honest not so much of the honey do list. Sandra always felt she could do those things better and to be honest she may have been right. Yet even with all these blessings there were times I found myself longing for more alone time. Not because I didn’t want to be with family and friends, but I just needed those moments where I could take a deep breath, pause and “smell the roses.” It was hard to follow the psalmist advice from Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” The idea of being still goes against what we naturally, and culturally, do. Our inclination is to step on the gas and go full speed ahead.
Today, instead of wishing for more times to pause and smell the roses, I sometimes long for more to do. It is just the opposite of what my life once was. Covid-19 has changed a lot of people’s lives. With my life now being lived in a shelter in place world, I have more alone time than I ever imagined. I try to find things to do. I read more, I walk more, and unless I catch myself I watch more TV. I must admit there are days that the walls seem to be caving in on me. There are others who are facing much worse consequences. People have lost jobs and cannot pay bills Medical experts say that depression and suicide are on the rise. There is a lot of suffering in the world today. Life can be really tough at times. When we experience tough times, what do we do? Where do we go? Whom do we lean on? Where can I go when the walls seem to be caving in on me? The answer is simple. I now have time to follow the psalmist’s advice.
A Psalm to Defeat Fear
Liz Kanoy is a senior editor for Crosswalk.com. She says Psalm 46:10 is a popular verse to comfort ourselves in those times when we need strength. This psalm was written in the context of trouble and war. Although these times of Covid-19 are not the kind of war the psalmist was referring to, we can take these words and use them to comfort us. Verse 1 of Psalm 46 starts, “God is our refuge and strength…” These words should bring comfort to our lives whenever we need strength.
This pandemic will end at some point. Our lives will get back to some type of normal. Until that time it is important we understand where we can find the strength to go on no matter how difficult things may be. For me Psalm 46 is a wake-up call to be in awe of the God we worship. I now have more time to meditate on Scripture and be silent with listening ears toward God.
It is critical to our faith to realize that the more we are deliberately still, the more we hear God’s voice; the more we are deliberately still, the better we recognize God’s activity; the more we are deliberately still, the smaller our issues seem; the more we are deliberately still, the bigger God appears. (This paragraph is from shortdailydevotions.com)
If I can remember to find time to “be still,” it will be easier to find the strength to face whatever I am feeling during these difficult times.
Therefore, I will not fear. (Psalm 46:2)