Times like these expose our weaknesses and I think our strengths and they reveal who we look to and in whom trust when great trials come.
This past Saturday, March 28 the message of this blog was presented on a facebook live post as part our 516 Daily devotional at my church – Community Bible Church in Baton Rouge. My husband Ken and I sang together at the beginning and end of the video and Kathy Rumfellow joined us on the violin. If you would prefer to listen rather than read, you can find it on our Restore ministries facebook page. You will also find the video link at the end of this blog.
For thoses of you who have already listened, I would ask that you consider using the prayer for our medical providers found below as a guide in the weeks ahead.
I have been so grateful for the doctrinal series study I have been doing this week with my church. This week’s lesson was Who is Jesus. In these days of the Corona virus we need to be reminded of who Jesus is!
As I read one of the Scripture lessons from Isaiah 9:6-7, I was struck by how many times I have sung those words in choir pieces in church since I was a teenager. They are planted deep in my heart. Most of the songs are from my memories of Christmas music and that’s most often when we hear these verses read.
But I find it so powerful for these days.
Read this beautiful description of Christ, the Messiah
This is such powerful truth!
There are so many Scriptures where we see the fullness of the character of Christ revealed – He is the Word, truth, light, Deliverer, Savior, the Hope of the world, the Son of God and yet because he lived on earth, he understands our humanity. He has compassion for our human struggles and the power to help usovercome them as we are face this pandemic.
As I’ve texted, emailed, and been on Facebook much more than usual with friends and family over the last two weeks, I’ve noticed that there is a common thread in our struggles, but we handle them differently.
We all have a need.
Those of us who struggle with anxiety feel our chests tighten and have trouble sleeping more than usual.
We need peace to invade our souls. Isaiah 9 tells us that in Christ we have the
Prince of Peace.
Those of us who seem to thrive on the constant running and the doing may feel lost and useless in the sudden stillness. We may feel trapped in our homes as we are all faced with the struggle to find a new routine for our days.
We need a sense of purpose. Jesus has work for us to do in these days.
It may be to rest in His presence, to pray. He may give you an opportunity to share your faith.
In Christ we have a Wonderful Counselor, full of wisdom who can guide us.
Those of us with family and friends far away wrestle with a longing in our hearts to physically touch and see that they are ok. That has certainly been my struggle as my oldest daughter, son-in – law and granddaughters live far from us in South Carolina and my youngest daughter in is the hot spot of the world right now, New York City.
Maybe like me, you need to be reminded that although we are separated from one another we can never be separated from the love of God.
We need a comforter. In Jesus we have the Good Shepherd of our souls.
Those of you who have lost income or retirement investments, or jobs may face fear of the future. I’ve heard that fear so many times as I’ve spoken with family and friends.
We need a provider. We need to believe that Jesus will supply what we truly need because He will. He sees the darkness that you face and He is the light to lead you through it.
Those of you with all the little ones suddenly at home wonder if you will find the strength and creativity to manage the schoolwork, the meals, the fun, the noise level. Maybe you feel inadequate or insecure as suddenly you’re challenged in so many areas of your life.
Or some of you have grown children home who haven’t lived with you for years. How do you manage that?
Or maybe you are lonely as you face isolation in your home for so many weeks.
You need to know there is a source of strength and creativity beyond yourself.
Isaiah 9 tells us one of the names of our Savior is Mighty God.
Surely the Creator of this beautiful universe in which we live and in whose image we are made can supply the creativity to survive and even thrive in these days.
And when you are weary or lonely, remember His words of comfort...
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NIV
I think all of us struggle some with fear of this disease that threatens us. We are fearful for those we know and love who suffer from it or face the danger of it in the medical field day after day.
We need a Healer and a Deliverer.
We need to look to Jesus who never changes even though the situation with this virus is constantly changing every day.
That reality came home to me especially in the last days through conversations with my mom’s nurses. My mom is 91 and has severe Alzheimer’s disease and lives in a nursing home here in town. My sister and I typically visit her very often during the week, but now in this pandemic she can have no visitors and it’s been 19 days since I’ve been able to see her. About ten days ago we got a call that mom had developed a deep cough, fever and pneumonia and they were doing a test on her for corona virus. It was a very long 5 day wait for the results. During that time, we were checking with the nurses every day. But then one day I got a call from the nurse. I asked her if mom was fearful. She paused and then broke a little and said, “Yes, she is. She can’t understand or remember why she must be in isolation. She is flinging out at us and constantly tries to get out of her bed and then falls. This is not your mom, Kathy…it is the disease and we are trying to manage her pain." Mom had fallen a few weeks earlier and broken several ribs so the pain from such a deep cough had to be brutal.
I told her that I had been praying for the nurses and aids caring for all the residents and asked if I could pray for her. She said yes and told me a little of her own struggle. Her mom was in a nursing home in much the same situation in another state and yet she was not able to be with her because she was caring for my mom in her job here. After we prayed, she said, “I knew I was supposed to call you. Now I have a sense of peace." It was such a sweet time.
We finally received news that mom’s test came back negative. Praise the Lord and thank you for all of the prayers so many of you lifted up.
I began sharing prayers with her by text and told her that I would ask others to pray for all the medical professionals during this uncertain, difficult time as we watch the news of health providers crying out for help and laboring to care for those stricken with this disease in our world.
I wrote out the prayer below and sent it to her. Please consider joining with me in praying for the doctors, nurses, and medical providers. You may want to use the prayer below as a guide.
Prayer for our doctors, nurses and medical providers
Christ Our Healer and Savior
The brokenness and sickness in our world is staggering.
The hurting people, Your beloved, are lining the halls,
filling the hospital beds and waiting in long lines for drive thru testing,
in desperate need of supplies and quarantining
in our nursing homes and at home.
There is fear and worry and pain that is real and it is overwhelming.
Father we pray that you would cover them with your protection
and your grace. May their hands of service be an extension of your mercy.
Fill them with strength and compassion.
May they find their rest in You Father.
Lord, for those suffering from COVID-19,
the medical providers are the human face of compassion
when families and friends cannot come near.
Let their presence bring comfort and healing not only physically,
but emotionally as patients are frightened and suffering.
Give them a capacity to love and offer hope and fill them with wisdom
as they make decisions to provide the best care for patients. .
May their hands and minds be skilled and may they look to You
in these days as the Great Physician.
Please protect them from this contagious virus and provide the protective supplies that they need to minister healing and grace
without risk to their own health and protect their families.
Lord, we ask that you by your mighty power
would stop the devastating spread of this virus.
May we turn our hearts and souls and look to you in this crisis.
Unite our hearts in prayer.
We ask for Your mercy to rain down on us Lord and we bless your Holy name.
In the powerful name of Jesus,
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.
If there is one thing that we have all learned it is that we are not in control.
Aren’t you grateful that Jesus is never out of control?
The child born to us, our Savior is the Everlasting Father,
and He is righteous and just.
We need to find our rest in His presence so that we can hear His voice, trust in His sovereignty and know in the depths of our hearts that He reigns over it all and longs to bring us to a place of restoration.
Jesus will hold us fast and secure – even the COVID 19 pandemic.
There is a wonderful song of comfort called He will Hold Me Fast that is an old hymn written by Ada Habershon and put to new music by Matt Merker. It has become almost my anthem during the last few years as I have faced a lot of loss in the death of dear friends and family, my mother's loss of memory and a long season of personal illness. I find that I keep returning to it over and over and it has been on my heart in the last few weeks.
This is the Jesus who holds us –Son of God, Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Will we choose to place our hope in Jesus, the anchor for our souls?
Will we surrender and believe that God has a purpose for us in this crisis?
He will sustain us. He will hold us fast.
May the Savior in His mercy protect and sustain you and hold you fast
during these days.
You can listen to me sing this on the Restore Ministry facebook page.
The song begins at 11:28 on the video.
Or you can listen this beautiful hymn performed by Keith and Kristyn Getty at the link below.
Also, in case you missed it in last weeks blog and are looking for some encouraging music during this time. I have created a Spotify playlist entitled God, our Hope to fill your souls with His truth as His melodies sing over you. My list has grown over the last few weeks to over 4 hours of music!
Here is the link. Just click the heart to follow and access.
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