When I hosted a couple Sundays ago, on 8/2, I mentioned my recent road trip and taking scenic routes where I experienced the beauty of God’s creation as well as His presence. These longer, less populated, alternative roads became a metaphor for me of experiencing God’s presence in the midst of the pandemic. Having a change of scenery is essential for me to realign with God, allow Him to renew my hope and strengthen me with healthy ways of coping. I’ve only been home for a couple weeks and I feel ready to go out on the road again! Even preparing to write this post has felt like I’m chasing myself around the house to get myself writing. Do you ever experience that? There’s something you need to do, but you seem to find everything else to do first.
Part of travel involves buckling yourself in, wearing a seatbelt, and sometimes I need strapping down! In my day to day routine, it can be hard to calm myself and ignore all the distractions to center on God, so I think that’s part of the appeal of travel – I am away from my distractions. I am able to focus more easily on the Lord. We can’t always be on vacation, though!
Part of the scripture reading from that Sunday included Ps. 37:3,
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
As I read it aloud, cultivating faithfulness struck me – how do we cultivate faithfulness? Scenic routes help me cultivate faithfulness. They reset my rhythm. How else do we cultivate faithfulness? Over and over throughout this pandemic we turn back to God with our honest, real needs and desires, bearing the true condition of our souls, our fatigue, fears and disappointments, our sin and shame. We turn to the Word of God and immerse ourselves in Scripture, worship through music, serve and connect with others at least by Zoom and we pray. After five months, some may feel this pandemic-lifestyle is feeling almost ordinary or mundane. We can cultivate faithfulness in the mundane. God is in the ordinary days.
Many of us are walking for exercise more consistently these days and walking can be a type of scenic route. We can pray along the way and the walk becomes a connection point with God. While walking we can let our conversation with God move beyond words as our senses of sight, smell, sound and touch become engaged. As our minds are allowed to quiet, prayer comes more easily.
I feel particularly burdened to pray for all affected by distance learning – students of all ages, teachers of all grade levels including college, parents juggling work and home life in new ways, and administrators forced to make what seem like no-win decisions. Everyone is affected in profound ways by this pandemic. Yes, we know God is at work and He is doing good things, and we are blessed to participate with Him when we pray. Then we align ourselves with Him, grow in patience and grace, and we cultivate faithfulness. How do you feel burdened to pray?
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.