Note from Liz: As we watch the world struggling to come to terms with a new challenge, we too are making adjustments in our worship and habits. Every change we make is done as thoughtfully as we can out of love for our neighbors and our community. And, inevitably, change generates thoughts and ideas and questions. Over this next season I would LOVE it if you would take some time to reflect on how you are processing these changes. Read earlier reflections here, and send me your thoughts! The following reflection was written by Juliet .
When Trusting God is the Most Rational Thing (And Other Truths I Preach to Myself)
So it’s pretty easy for me to go from zero to one hundred when hard things come my way. And COVID-19 is a very hard, scary, panic-inducing thing. The most natural thing for a person of faith to do right now is look around and wonder, in anger and frustration, where God is in all of this.
And yet I am writing this in an unfamiliar state of calm. Sure, I cried today a few times. But there is a truth that I can’t ignore that keeps snapping me out of it. God is with us. And right now, trusting God is the most rational thing I can do.
The first seven verses of Psalm 95 are a beautiful description of God’s power and care for his people. We’re reminded that God is the “Rock of our salvation,” a “great God and a great King above all gods.” Our God holds the earth and the seas together because he made them. He is our “Maker.” We are this powerful God’s people, “the sheep of his hand.”
The remaining four verses are a devastating warning not to forget who that God is, nor his power and care. I’ve been meditating on this Psalm for the past few months and have found it particularly comforting right now. It reminds me to reflect on all that God has done for me, the faithfulness he’s shown me in my life, and the ways he’s brought deliverance. When I do that, I realize that I actually have several data points of God’s provision.
When my father flatlined twice and nearly died of a heart attack and then a valve replacement, God spared him. It’s been over eleven years and according to the statistics, my father should be dead. For years I asked God to keep him alive to walk me down the aisle one day at my wedding and to meet my children. And he did.
When I was unemployed for eighteen months in 2012 and 2013, God sustained me. I somehow always had food to eat and money for rent. I had a pair of boots that fell apart during a rainstorm on Ash Wednesday in 2013 and I couldn’t afford a new pair or to fix them. Three weeks later, a friend asked me if I needed a pair of shoes. She had these credits with a shoe subscription service and wanted to give me a pair. More than that, for the most part (there were some exceptions when I freaked out), there was a deep joy and peace I had never experienced before then and haven’t since.
When I was facing down my 35th birthday, coming off of a year of two big breakups, I had to wrestle with some hard, existential questions. God met me there and brought hope. Then God brought Phil into my life. A little over a year after that we were married. And a few months after that, we were pregnant with Charlie.
When I was pregnant with Charlie, I struggled with fear that it was too good to be true, that as with so many other situations, I would come to the point of completion, only to find disappointment. I was afraid that I would become depressed after he was born, that the depression and anxiety that had swallowed up the joy of my engagement and wedding would take this too. But with the arrival of this sweet, easygoing, sleep-loving little boy, there was also grace. And the fear lifted.
When our upstairs neighbor flooded six floors and a basement, our apartment was covered in about an inch of water. Miraculously, the only thing we lost was a bathmat. Though our lives were disrupted for weeks, God made a way for us to move to a better apartment, on the top floor of our building, at the same low rent we’d been paying on our place on the fifth floor.
There are even more ways I can recount God’s faithfulness. And when I do, I am reminded that there has been one Person who has never let me down. Sometimes God was faithful to provide his presence, along with hope, joy, and peace when I really just wanted him to magic the problem away. There weren’t always dramatic reversals and sometimes God’s deliverance took much longer than I wanted. But God was always there, treating me like a sheep in his care. He never ran out of grace.
When I think about all of these things, I can see that it is actually more rational for me to trust God with my life right now, than it is for me to doubt him.
These past few weeks have given our family a lot of cause to fear: increased expenses related to a move, increased medical bills related to secondary infertility, secondary infertility, a sick father, and now a pandemic. Just one of those things warrants a really good meltdown.
And sure, I’ve had one or ten. But just as it was easy to go from zero to one hundred, when I’ve taken a second to look for my faithful God and remember his care, it’s very easy to go from one hundred to zero.
Here are some practical ways to reflect on God’s faithfulness in these hard and scary times (besides writing blog posts when you feel like freaking out):
What is the story you’re telling yourself about God right now?
How has God been faithful to you in the past?
Based on everything you know of God, do you think he would pick right now, in the middle of a pandemic to decide to stop being faithful? If so, why?