Pandemics, Stress, and something else Contagious

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected people in a thousand different ways. For me, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions and brain power.

The first couple weeks leading up to the stay-home order were chaos at work. I didn’t really even have time to think about the implications of the virus in other areas of life. We had a feeling that a stay-home order was coming, so we scrambled to get all our processes set up for remote work. I was learning new software, training people on said software, putting it into practice and converting a lot of other daily tasks from physical to digital. I was working late hours to cram as much time in with my boss as possible to make sure we were on the same page and ready to keep things moving at the same pace as before.

I’ve had some stressful days and weeks at work, but this time topped the cake.

Once we were finally all nestled in safe and sound at home, a new challenge arose: getting used to a new normal. I had to decide what my new daily routine would look like, and be disciplined in keeping it regular for my own sanity. Using Marco Polo to stay connected with friends was, and remains, a huge help. And I’m still working on changing how I exercise and eat, because I’m not moving half as much as I did when in the office.

Surprisingly, I’ve actually begun to enjoy this new normal. I’ve settled in and I feel like each day that goes by I get a little more comfortable and a little bit more productive. But, the nagging thought remains in the back of my head that I don’t know how long this work from home situation will last. The question I keep asking is…how long will this last? Another month? A year? Indefinitely? It stresses me out thinking about adjusting to yet another new normal in such a short period of time. There’s been a lot of change this year, and I’m kind of trying to hold off any further change as long as I can!

But this is where I need to ask Jesus for his peace.

Matthew 10:29-31 says,

What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

It reminds me of the flock of sparrows that live in my neighbor’s bushes. They are constantly at our bird feeder, and I’ve had the joy of watching them a lot lately. They have a pretty nice set up over here actually, between the bushes, bird feeder, and the clothesline poll they use for nests. They are noisy, messy birds, but I love watching them and hearing them every day. They pester each other, eat, sleep, build nests, lay eggs, and live. And I love thinking about this verse and how God literally knows and sees each one of these little birdies.

And I love the daily reminder that this is how closely the Father watches over me.

I know that I need to drop my worries and rest, knowing that he sees me. He knows my questions about the future. He knows what my heart longs for. But he also knows what I cannot know….he knows what the future holds. So I need to drop my fears and trust in his ways and his timing.

Every day, I just need to pray the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13, asking God for his plans and purposes to be done, for him to give me what I need each day, for him to forgive me as I mess up and help me to forgive those around me, and to steer me away from temptation.

What I do know is that when I put my trust in Jesus, he will guide my every step. I just need to keep reminding myself to take my eyes off the situation and know that Jesus sees it all.

May we embrace the hope he offers us.

To Serve

I was praying about a lot of things while I was drifting off to sleep last night. Heavy things, light things, confusing things. All matter of things. And during my rambling prayers, the following thought popped into my head:

I didn’t come to be served, but to serve.

I believe the Holy Spirit was reminding me of Matthew 20:28, which says,

For even the Son of Man came not to be served
but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

God didn’t come to Earth to be served. Isn’t that incredible? He came to serve us. The King James Version uses the word “ministered”. He came not to be ministered to, but to minister to us.

Who else is like this? To not seek self in every little thing, but to put others first…even if you’re the one who deserves to be first.

What other God is like this?

In a powerful coupling, John 3:17 says,

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

I feel like I’m getting to know Jesus on a whole new level lately. He came to earth to become like us, to experience our world with its hurts and pains. But he didn’t come to judge us on how we would handle the pain. And he didn’t come to be doted on.

He came to serve us, minister to us, and redeem us.

Personal, present needs.

Luke prays for us every morning before work. It was a habit that was forced into practice by our mentors when we were going through a rough patch in our marriage a couple years ago. It was hard to start, but it’s become a part of our morning routine that we both continue to show up for.

This morning, after praying for my day, Luke asked Jesus to help him and his coworkers with a difficult project. I was immediately inspired, and followed up with praying for focus and organization for my projects as well.

It was actually a really powerful time of prayer for me, despite the fact that it was all of about five minutes. I realized that I spend a lot of my time praying for the big picture stuff, like health and provision and God’s will to be done. But I don’t spend time in the details. But the details is where I need him most.

Earlier this week I read the following passage in the gospel of John, chapter 2:

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

When I read this passage, what stuck out to me was that Jesus didn’t have to turn this water into wine, and he expressed as much to his mom. But he did it anyway. In my study bible, it mentioned that weddings during this time were week long celebrations, and for them to run out of wine would be a huge embarrassment. So in essence, this was a culture problem. A personal issue. Not a problem of biblical proportions. But do you see what Jesus did? He turned the water into wine. The best wine. He may have saved the entire celebration!

This was the first time he revealed his glory, and it was personal. It was a present need. I love that.

I’m very inspired this morning to bring my personal, present needs to Jesus.

Resources:
New Living Translation Bible
NLT Life Application Study Bible