Is it just me or is anyone else weary of the doom and gloom? Of course, the virus is a real thing—a threat that has done much damage and continues to challenge us all. And according to most news outlets it will never leave us, always plague us, forever change everything. It makes me nervously wonder, is there no small hint of light at the end of this tunnel? Not if you scan the headlines.
But not to worry, if it is not the virus coming for us, it will be the murder hornets—expect some to buzz menacingly by any minute in droves or whatever bunches of murder hornets are called. In case you escape that, I saw today that hurricanes are intensifying and once again we will face one of the worst-ever-in-all-of-history hurricane seasons. If nature does not doom us, maybe it will be something horrible the president does or congress does (or do to each other) or the meat shortage or the lack of toilet paper. A good friend just wrote an article on why us preacher/pastor types are going to soon come crashing down due to COVID induced pressure.
As I process all of this, I quickly realize—I got no chance! Maybe I just need to pull myself away from binging Netflix, hop in my truck, grab my mask and hand sanitizer and drive off into the sunset (at least gas is cheap right now). I mean, why even get out of bed? It is like we all are having Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day—every day–without end.
As you may have gathered, I am not the most patient of people. And yes, I do realize my blessings—of health, of family, of home, of friends, of job. But honestly, the gloom, despair and agony (Sa-lute! If you get this reference) is quite enough, thank you.
I Need the Assembly
To top it off, we cannot yet gather for worship. Oh, how I miss the assembly! I will refrain from launching into a theological discourse on its design, significance and firm biblical foundation and just say—I want to hear my brother’s and sister’s voices in praise to God; I so desire the encouragement and strength that comes from being together; I miss the folks that sit near and far from me in the pews; I miss the energy that is generated from our gatherings. I need it. Livestreaming is good and all that, but it is a stream that is getting a tad shallow for me, right now. I keep praying that soon and very soon worship together can happen again.
I do not know when that may be; I know we must be safe and use caution; I realize all of that, but I still miss it. I long for the time when we can reassemble; not be afraid to embrace; to sing with all of our hearts; to be family again. But I keep hearing it may never again be the same. I so pray not. If not, I think I will move to Australia.
Think on These Things
Okay, maybe not. Instead I need to somehow counter the gloom and doom; to detach from whatever screen is numbing me with troublesome headlines and projections of forever depression, recession, oppression, repression, digression, etc. and find a balance—some good news for a change. Thankfully, I have some help here. I am thinking specifically of the apostle Paul’s statement in Philippians 4:8. Instead of fearing hornets and hurricanes, it would help if I dwelt on what is true, what is noble, and what is right and pure. Instead of binging some dystopian TV show, it would lift me to embrace what is lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Of course, all flow from the goodness of God—and that is a game-changer even in a pandemic. Maybe that is why Paul also says in this text to “Not be anxious about anything.” (But have you seen the latest numbers on the virus?) Instead, he continues, “but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (4:6). That is a whole lot of positive to think on. Thank you, Paul! Maybe, just maybe it will drive out the thoughts of hordes of hornets coming to get me. Maybe, just maybe the peace of God, which passes all understanding will define my days and not the doom and gloom.
Why get out of bed? There are all kinds of true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy reasons. I just have to clear my head and heart and remember them. Oh, I also have to remember that I probably won’t find them on the news or on most tik tok videos. I will find them, though, in the God of peace. Nothing can separate me from him, by the way, not even viruses, hornets, or hurricanes.
Soon and very soon Lord! I really do not want to move to Austrailia.