If you’re watching television, you’re seeing lots of commercials encouraging us to be upbeat, to take care of ourselves and others. Each commercial usually ends with “We’re all in this together.” While that may be a true statement, the reality is that there is a wide range of situations people are in as they get through this together.
It is my prayer that those who are sheltered with families are rediscovering each other. I hope they are putting up their phones, tablets and devices. I hope they are turning off Facebook and Instagram, and not texting. I hope they are actually re-learning how to communicate verbally.
There is a limit to the number of episodes of Gunsmoke, The Rifleman and NCIS we can handle. I’m starting to even tire of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. And every movie on Hallmark, though it has a happy ending, is all too predictable.
So, what’s left? How about reading the Bible and praying more, as a family? How about eating meals, together, as a family? How about taking family walks or bike rides around the neighborhood? How about playing board games or reading good books and discussing them together? How about talking, talking to not at or about each other? This is a great opportunity for families to rekindle first love and explore each other anew and really get to know each other.
But for many, the joy of family may be missing. There are many older couples who simply can’t get out. There are widows and widowers who have no one. Patients in hospitals and nursing homes are lonely without the possibility of visitors to cheer them up and bring them joy.
If we’re really in this together, let’s be aware of those who are going through this alone. If you’re part of a church or religious congregation, keep in contact with your fellow members and see how they’re doing and if they need anything.
Think about your own personal family. Think of the widow down the street. Think of that man across the avenue who broke his leg and can’t get out. They’d love to get a card, a real snail mail card. They’d enjoy a real phone call, not a text or an e-mail. And if they need anything, you and I can always run to the store and take it to them without breaking social distancing rules.
If we’re all going to be in this together, let’s not just do it verbally as a cliché.
But above all, let’s continue to remember that God has promised we are never alone. He was with Noah and family in the ark; with Joseph in prison; with the Israelites in the wilderness; with the three Hebrew youths in the fire; with the disciples in the ship; with Lazarus in the tomb; with Jesus in the Garden. And with you and me, whatever our circumstances, wherever we are.
He knows our needs better than we do. He knows our feelings and emotions and understands. He hears our thoughts and words before we think or say. Psalm 56:8 says “He puts our tears in His bottle. While I don’t fully understand that, I know it speaks of His care and compassion. And that caused David to declare in verse 4, “in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”
During these uncertain and unpredictable times, let us consciously make the effort not to hide away in fear but, with prudence, seek to be a help and a blessing to others. And never get away from the knowledge that God is always here.
“When I walk through deep waters, I know that You will be with me. When I’m standing in the fire, I will not be overcome. Through the valley of the shadow, I will not fear.
“I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me; You will never leave me.
“In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through. The dark night will not overtake me, I am pressing into You. Lord, you fight my every battle and I will not fear.”
“You amaze me, redeem me, You call me as Your own. You’re my strength; You’re my defender; You’re my refuge in the storm.
“Through these trials You have always been faithful; You bring healing to my soul. I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me; You will never leave me.” (sung by Kari Jobe and written by Jobe and six others)