See the New Things

photo by Jeffery Hamilton

Just one week ago, I was sitting here writing a blog about my mission trip that I had returned from just one week before that. I was happy, hopeful, and encouraged from my time in El Mirador. How quickly life can change. Now I sit here feeling unsettled as the world falls apart around me. 

COVID-19

This is not what I imagined my 2020 to look like.

If I’m being honest, it has been an interesting process for me in regards to how I feel about all of this. I started off in disbelief. Then over the past 48 hours I have become more aware of the entire problem, verses holding tightly to my limited point of view. I have taken the time to read more about it and settle my brain long enough to think through everything I do know. I was subconsciously protecting myself from emotionally embracing the entirety of the situation. The reality is that this entire thing is not about me; and I will never know or understand every detail pertaining the matter. This is the new normal I have been handed and nothing is going to change that. All that matters now, is how I choose to move forward within it all. Suspicion is a choice. Fear is a choice. Negativity is a choice. Panic is a choice. Complaining is a choice. Arguing about all of this is a choice.

I will no longer choose any of those things. It won’t change anything.

As I continue to try and wrap my head around all of this, I can’t help but wonder where God is in all of it. Right now I see a whole lot of bad happening around the world. God, where are you? As I was writing this very blog I took a moment to pause and ask Him that very question. In this still and quiet moment I felt God say “but look.” Look? Look where? Am I missing something? Where am I supposed to look for hope and peace amidst chaos and pain? I’m looking to YOU God! Where else am I supposed to look?

God reminded and assured me that when you look much closer, you will see much better.

These are the times that prayer is the “magnifying glass” of life for me. It’s hard to see what we are looking at from far away. I imagine this as the little speck of dust on the flower from Horton Hears a Who. Sometimes all we see is the flower, when there’s the entire city of “Who-ville” we are missing.

So what do I think God is saying?

He is saying that on the surface we see pain, sadness, fear, dying, confusion, loneliness, disappointment, and sickness. God sees that too. Up close and personal though, God also sees His people coming together. When I think about the general state of the world, these days I am finding most of life to be pretty selfish. Not all people are selfish—but our society is motivated very much so by a self focused mindset. These days however, I am seeing something quite different.

Sadly it takes a pandemic to remind us that we were put on this earth to work together and help each other out.

I have seen companies giving away free online learning subscriptions for children at home, people offering daycare services for those who are without childcare, schools giving lunches to the children that would be without food otherwise, people creating fundraisers, organizations helping people get food and medical services, utility and cell phone companies waiving bills for the next few months, people reaching out more often and asking each other “how can I pray for you”, churches putting on full online services to bless their communities, people making face masks and donating them to hospitals, and even just people reaching out looking for any way to help. People are stepping up and it’s truly a beautiful thing.

I believe that God sees the simple things too. The Italians are doing it right! I’m in tears every time I see one of their videos of people out on their porches singing and playing music for the whole street to hear—while people are cheering and clapping for one another. You can feel the love! People dying is painfully sad. Nurses and teachers putting in all these extra hours is hard on them and their families. People having to cancel vacations, weddings, and funerals is also all very sad. People not able to get food and basic hygiene items is scary. Nothing can diminish these things and I am certainly not doing that here! God sees all of this and He mourns with us—but He also sees people and communities coming together in ways they never have before. I think, this makes Him happy. Therefore, it should make us happy too.

So you see, when the devil comes to “steal, kill, and destroy,” the Lord takes over and says “but look I will ALSO bring peace, love, togetherness, and generosity among it all. All things that we tend to take for granted on any normal day.

Could it be that this virus is also here to remind us that our world is already “infected” with far worse? People need JESUS, and this is the perfect time to be handing that out.

Our fear of this virus, pales in comparison to the sadness God feels as He sees a world infected with lies and people far from Him; and He wants us to know that.

Stop in the chaos of it all, and look a little closer. All of this does not mean that we ignore “the flower”.

It just means we stand a little closer so we can also see all of “Who-ville”.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
 

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