Question for those of you who are now working out of your home: Are you having a hard time staying focused on your work? The distractions are killing me. Yesterday I got the Catch out at 5:15 p.m., forty-five minutes before our evening Bible Study started. I’m not excusing myself here, I’m just reporting what happened.
Every few minutes my phone lights up with a news report about the death toll somewhere, the shortage of medical supplies, the hope for a new drug, the hoax behind another. Texts between family members are flying. But most of all, I feel sort of in a fog as if my distractions are justified. I’m assuming everyone else is going through the same thing. Lots of people aren’t working at all. Their normal time frame is completely off, so there is a sense that we are all floating in some surreal space between real and virtual time where the clock is irrelevant.
Wake up. Slap myself in the face. Life goes on. The Catch at 5:15 p.m.? Get out of here! Who’s going to read it? That’s only twelve hours later than it should be. Emails, texts, notifications, messages — there’s no end to the stream. I need to exercise greater discipline. I need to quit thinking that if I monitor all the news, I can feel more in control. Quite the opposite happens. The more I monitor, the more helpless I feel.
So I turn to the scripture reading for the day from Psalm 74, and this is what I find:
“We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and no one knows how long this will be. How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?” (Psalm 74:9-10)
“No one knows how long this will be.” That’s for sure. That is so true right now and part of what puts our reality in limbo. But we can’t just float along aimlessly. That would be to deny and discredit God, and that’s the last thing we want to do, because God is what everyone needs right now, more than ever. And truly, our prophets are not all gone. We serve as prophets, so we mustn’t float or be in limbo. There is no limbo; that is an illusion. More than ever, we as believers are needed in society to bring stability and hope. We were called for such a time as this. Wake up. Listen to what David wrote later in this same Psalm:
“The day is Yours, and Yours also the night; You established the sun and moon. It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter.” (Psalm 74:17)
In spite of what it might seem, God is in control. He set all the boundaries of the earth; He made the sun and the moon and both summer and winter. He didn’t lay all that down and keep it in motion and suddenly go, “Whoops! Who let out the coronavirus?”
God is in control. We are the ones who know that. We need to watch and pray and live like those who do. Be vigilant. Help where you can. It’s tough. We’re being forced into isolation when people need us. So use the internet and the phone as much as you can. Keep in touch however you can. Especially for the lonely and the vulnerable.
And join us at the Catch. Last night’s Bible study on Zoom was fantastic. As good as being in person. We experienced the body of Christ online like never before. Make a point to join us next Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. PDT, and don’t forget church at the Catch Sunday at 6:00 p.m. PDT. Whenever we come together, we discover the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
[I’m sending you a double Catch today. Enjoy this from our good friend, David Roper.]
“When You Think You Have To Worry…”
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his life span?” (Matthew 6:26-27).
What Jesus precludes is not work but worry. Birds spend a lot of time and energy scratching up food, but they don’t worry about the product. Food is there to be found, provided by our Father. So, a fortiori, our Father provides for us.
To be honest, our chief anxiety these days is not groceries—we can order them online and have them delivered. Our greatest concern is our “life span.” Will we pass through the corona crisis unscathed?
Even so, our Lord tells us not to worry. Anxiety can’t add even 18” to our lifespan. (The ancients applied linear measurements—handbreadths and arm lengths—to time lines.) Worry, in fact can shorten our lives.
It’s best then to cast those anxieties on the Lord, knowing that he really, truly cares …all of which reminds me of an oft-quoted poem:
Said the robin to the sparrow,
“I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the robin,
“Friend I think that it must be,
That they have no Heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me.”
If you have trouble believing that your Father in Heaven cares for you don’t worry. Rather ask him to help you believe. Everything, even faith, comes, in due time, from above. (Ephesians 2:8,9).
When you think you have to worry
‘Cause it seems the thing to do
Remember He ain’t in a hurry
He’s always got time for you
Love Him in the morning when you see the sun a-rising
And love Him in the evening ‘cause He took you through the day
And in the in-between time when you feel the pressure coming
Remember that He loves you and He promises to stay.