Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
On a scale of 1-10, (1 being “I’m going nuts” to 10 being “I could lead a stress management seminar”) I have fluctuated up and down the scale during the coronavirus pandemic. During the first month of being at home by myself, not going out for any meetings, no meals with others, no conversations except on the phone, not even going to the grocery, I was about a No. 1 on that scale. Then as I began to pray more intently, more often, read scripture with more time spent on what it meant for me, I began to settle in to knowing that I was truly not alone at all. God was present with me at all times, and I could have been talking to God more all that time. I began to rejoice, as Paul encouraged the Philippians to do. I began to treasure those moments of silence as I sat on my back porch or under the pergola reading scripture and in prayer. I began to see that coronavirus had slowed down my lifestyle so that I could experience the presence of God more deeply, and I rejoiced in it.
We Americans typically live a fast paced life style, filling each and every day to the hilt with work, more and more meetings, and then ending the day fully spent mentally, emotionally and physically. We ignore the most important part of our whole well-being by not spending a devoted amount of time with God, in silence, in prayer, in reading God’s Word. So if during this pandemic, you have experienced some of what I have experienced we have great reason to rejoice in the Lord always. Surely it is there in the silence, the home-alone time that I have experienced the peace of God, which surpasses all my understanding.
May we learn from this slowing down of lifestyle that we need to keep more time available to spend with God, when the pandemic is over and life begins to return to what we considered normal. We have no other relationship that is more important than the one we have with God our creator and redeemer. May we establish a new normal where God is experienced more in our daily life.
- What do you look back on as the happiest days of your life?
- What does more time each day with God look like to you?
- How does more time in prayer with God bring gentleness and peace?
- In what do you rejoice and give thanks as you look back over how you have responded to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.