Well Governor Abbott did it, this week he began to open Texas! None of us know what to expect from the coming days. As with most tough problems there are no easy and ready answers. Uncertainty, varying view points, trepidation and dissention are often the earmarks of any course of action taken. And this Texas (and for that matter worldwide) journey into the unknown is no different!
Last week Restoration asked us to think on what was working right in our lives in spite of our social distancing, and the fear and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Like many of you, I have “what ifs” invading my thoughts and dreams but this simple question made me reflect on the slower pace I’ve taken since March 26. This past month has reminded me of my childhood and the slowness I enjoyed in connecting to nature and God when my time was more of my own.
I grew up in Austin with a home that extended over Shoal Creek where my twin and I spent hours playing with friends. Endless hours of exploration; wading, skipping rocks, building rafts (all sunk but much laughter was elicited anyway), sitting motionless waiting on turtles, cane poles with orange peel or bacon hanging off the end, climbing rock formations, jumping into tide pools, running from flash floods, digging up the natural clay to form works of art and much more!
So how does all this relate? I offer up three lessons I’ve been reminded of in these God given moments:
- With COVID-19 today and my times in the creek –each offer countless un-orchestrated lessons; strength and perseverance in facing the unknown, patience in the waiting, hope in anticipation, and peace and happiness in the slow nourishing God moments received. So I rest on the promise found in last Sunday’s reading in Isaiah 43:1-2, 5, God “created… [and] formed you… [therefore] Fear not…when you pass through the waters…and the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…for I am with you”.
- During these isolating and troubling times, I find myself connecting for hours each day with God through my garden work as I create, dig, plant and wait for new plants to unfurl just as I once feasted and communed with Him in the creek. What’s important is to seek Him whether through His Word, meditation or basking in His glorious nature and as we do He promises our hearts will be warmed and eyes opened making us more aware of His presence as He joins us in our journey.
- All of this has also made me realize even more I control very little then or now! I didn’t know back then, if I would make it to the top of the cliff, if a turtle would come up to sun himself, if a perch would be snagged or if the flash flood would over take me. The same is true now, I don’t control the movement of the virus, what mandates will be passed, how other people will react, if I will receive any relief funds or if I will have the same jobs in the future. I don’t have control over who will suffer the most just because of where they were born/live, the intelligence they lack or their financial insecurity. However I rest my hope and faith upon knowing who I belong to, that He is with me on the journey and that He loves me and will never leave me or forsake me. All of which is best felt and realized when I slow down, rest and feast on Him and the wonders of His creation!
May God, who created and formed you, be with you on every road you travel, may He touch your heart each and every day with His love and presence so that His peace that passes all understanding will abide in you along the way as His Holy Spirit molds you more and more into Christ’s image thereby revealing God’s glory in you and through you. Amen.