Kids were supposed to go back to school today, but the pandemic has stopped that important part of our children’s lives. Well … it’s been put back online, but it’s nowhere near the same as in person learning. And it’s caused so much stress for parents who now have to figure out if they also have to work from home, or still go to work and need caretakers. Many people are angry, frustrated and tired of all the shutdowns and messes Covid has caused.
There is a verse in the Bible that caught my attention years ago.
Ephesians 4:26 NLT
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
That was a verse that my husband and I applied to our marriage. We tried hard to be open and honest with each other, and solve problems as soon as possible. But, there are things in life that we can’t deal with quickly, and the anger with Covid is one of them. All the frustration and anxiety keep cropping up every single day, especially as hope dims as the 3rd wave crashes over us. How do we deal with that anger?
Psalm 121 NLT
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
1 I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
3 He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
5 The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.
This psalm was written for the Jewish people as they travelled to Jerusalem for special religious observances. Most of them walked, and the journey could take several days depending on where you were coming from. You could stumble as you walked, you might face scorching hot days, or you might meet bandits along the way. This would be an encouraging song to sing as you walked along.
This is a psalm for us as we travel through life, especially now as we travel through this crazy pandemic. There is one phrase that appears 5 times – “watches over you”. Verse 5 is super amazing. “The LORD himself watches over you!”
I don’t know about you, but my emotions are all over the place these days. I find the physical distancing so hard. I haven’t spent time with my grandchildren since the couple of hours we had on Christmas Day. I haven’t seen my daughter who teaches in England since 2019. Sometimes it’s just plain frustration, the inability to go to the store for some small thing I could use right now. I am thankful for the beautiful spring – almost summer – weather we’ve been having here. At least I’ve been able to be outside for daily walks, and chat with neighbours while we distance in our driveways.
Does God care about me during this pandemic? Yes, he is watching over me!
“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth”. This is no helpless God. He is the creator of the universe. He is powerful and knows exactly how everything works. He knows what is happening right now, and what will come tomorrow. He never sleeps. He is watching over you every minute 24/7. He is not looking away, caught up in some other event, and oops – he didn’t see what happened to you.
“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” The Bible never promises that we will sail through life with no problems or difficult situations. The word “harm” can be better translated as disaster, something that can’t be fixed. We live in a broken world, and bad things happen. But God “watches over you” all through those hard situations. He watches over us as we “come and go” in our daily lives. He watches us “both now and forever”.
Last week we looked at the life of Joseph. He was an example of someone who experienced a lot of hardship. His brothers were jealous of him being Dad’s favourite son, so they sold him to a slave trader from Egypt. His master’s wife got upset when he refused to have sex with her, and Joseph ended up in prison for years. Through divine intervention, Joseph ended up a key government figure who managed the country through years of famine. When his brothers showed up looking for food, Joseph made sure they got what they needed, but also arranged to meet with them. They were embarrassed and frightened for their lives, knowing they had intended to harm Joseph. This is what Joseph told them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50: 20)
If you are having a hard time with all this pandemic stuff, keep this psalm handy to read. Know that God cares for you no matter what is happening. He is “watching over you”. He can actually turn this bad year into something good in your life. Turn your eyes from all the frustrating, sad things, and look to him.
“You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” (1 Peter 5: 7 J.B. Phillips)
Here is a hymn that echoes the thoughts of today’s devotions.
God Will Take Care of You by the Heritage Singers.