“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among young” Joel 2:25 (NIV).
In January 2020, I did my usual. I sat in front of my computer writing. I searched scripture and prayed for God’s anointing as I worked on a Lenten devotional. But, after I finished, a desire still burned in my heart to continue writing. Thoughts consumed my mind, and I continued to work relentlessly. I yearned for more fulfillment through writing, not knowing my world would change in days without warning. Looking back, I wonder if, intuitively, I'd known something was wrong. Then, like, many of us, I, too, felt robbed when the worldwide pandemic shut down life as I knew it.
Due to the deadly outbreak of COVID-19, the US government was forced to create a lockdown for our protection. No one could gather for weddings, funerals, or parties, and people no longer went to dinner, movies, or other social events; instead, many of us remained isolated.
Hospitalized patients couldn’t receive visitors, and many died alone.
Travel came to a halt. Businesses closed. Schools and sanctuaries remained empty.
People met for classes and church using their computers.
For many, it was two years of confusion, fear, heartache, loss, illness, isolation, death, and closure. I felt robbed of time with family and friends. Although I lost the opportunity to be with family and friends during those days, God enriched my life as I sought his direction. Each step into the unknown, stretched my faith as I depended upon God more and navigated uncharted territory with him. I thank God for those years while in solitude.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV).
Often, I think I can get along without God and forget him when I'm comfortable. Those times offer little personal growth or value. However, during tough times, like the pandemic, it's liberating to turn my fears, worries, spouse, children, health, and finances to God.
When we lean on God and give our burdens to Jesus, our courage strengthens, and an incredible peace overcomes us. The creator of the universe cares for us, so our days are full of wonder and delight. We no longer have to be held captive by lies and fear.. Jesus Christ brings freedom from fear, and his Spirit sets us free. Dependence on our God gives us the power and authority to do impossible feats despite the odds!
Prayer: Father, your word says: “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who contemplate the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3: 16-18 (NIV). I’m thankful for the fullness of life in You and that I can enjoy freedom when I turn to You. Father, You have promised us abundant life. I don't know the future, but I know you're a good father. My heart’s desire is for you. Amen.
Your turn: How have you experienced God's presence before, during, and after the pandemic? Were there times in your life when you faced a difficult challenge yet felt God's presence? What was it like?