We live in unprecedented times… How many times have we heard that phrase over the past few months? According to the dictionary, if something is ‘unprecedented’ then it’s ‘never been done or known before.’ Now, we could argue that pandemics have been known and done many times before. Throughout history, there have been numerous diseases that have consumed populations and wreaked havoc. This still feels unprecedented, particularly for our generation. In many ways, we are the most equipped to face the pandemic with our sophisticated health care systems and scientific knowledge and yet this all seems so unknown. We search for reassurance on the news and leaders walk the tightrope of trying to be optimistic while formulating a response to the same questions asked repeatedly. Even with the science behind us, we can only speculate, hypothesise…guess! ‘I don’t know!’ is an accurate response. Not knowing is hard! The truth is none of us know. We’re all walking in uncertainty to varying degrees and if you’re anything like me then it’s unsettling. Despite how it feels, I know God is in this situation, but I still feel unsettled. The prospect of lifting aspects of the lockdown fills me both with hope and trepidation at the same time. I can see first hand the impact these regulations have had on businesses across the country and recognise the stress they place on families financially. More importantly, I can see the desperate need for many of these measures to continue as families lose loved ones and people continue to suffer in care homes and hospitals. I can see all the positives that have been pointed out on my social media feed but right now, as beautiful as the morning bird song might be, resting in God is hard.
Early this morning I received a message from my good friend Alex who reminded me of a resource I created a while ago now. She prompted me to share it again, so here it is. I know I’ll be working through it today as I try to rest in God and settle my soul. Based around Philippians 4:4-9, the support sheet (see pdf below) provides a simple process for reflecting on any situation that is occupying your mind. I hope you find it useful if only to help you ‘fix your thoughts’ on the one for whom none of this is unprecedented.
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9