Sharing Our Stories: December 7

Writer’s Name:  Pat Bailey

Writer’s Ministry:  Discipleship Ministry

Assigned Text:  Isaiah 40:1-5

Word of the Week: Hope

By now the Covid-19 virus has been headline news for nearly 12 months. As a nation we were initially relieved that it didn’t affect us in the USA. Then came March. Travel to and from European destinations was in jeopardy. New York City became the Covid-19 virus central, and the virus spread throughout the country. Fear, frustration, anger, and grief- families separated, store shelves empty, health facilities overflowing with patients, doors closed to businesses and schools. Even churches. the one place where peace, comfort and hope are normally in abundance, were closed. These events are fresh in our minds. And we continue to deal with many of these issues.  A rollercoaster of hopelessness.

Personally, I long for the return of “normal”– the normal that in retrospect was maybe deciding which restaurant to visit; when to book an airline seat to see family and friends. Honestly, I occasionally weep because I yearn to spontaneously hug loved ones. I want to worship with sisters and brothers of faith in a packed sanctuary. I long to go shopping without looking like a comedic outlaw.  Rollercoaster.

So, how do I get through this period of social distancing and continuous sanitizing? Surprisingly, I spend a great deal of my day focused on God. Walking in the early morning with a friend is when I marvel at the moon, stars and planets. The generally peaceful quiet allows us to chit-chat (technical term for girl-talk). My friend does not attend church. It is surprising how often I find moments to weave in spiritual insight, which frequently leads to her asking spiritual questions. Worshipping, both live and virtually, has become a priority. Hearing the pastors’ messages challenges me to use what is said and pass that along in supportive action. Meeting with my small groups warms my heart and “fills my cup” with Hope. The support we share can only be attributed to the fact that God is indeed with us. Being in an attitude of prayer is never far away. I know I can express my emotions to The Creator, no matter what situation I find myself in.

I guess this new “normal” isn’t too bad after all. Without the distractions that took up way too much time before Covid-19, my hope is to sustain the reliance I’ve found with Him. 

Daily Prayer: Lord, help me to recognize your presence at all times and find my Hope in you.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. When have you felt as if your life was like being on a rollercoaster?
  2. What spiritual practices help you to smooth out the “highs” and “lows” and give you Hope?
  3. How can you encourage someone else and give them Hope when you see them “riding the rollercoaster?”  

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