Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 18, 2020
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore. Psalm 131:1-3
As I sit down to write these words, I realize I am right now resisting an urge to check the news on my phone. It has been several hours since I last saw the headlines, which these days means I am massively out of touch and out of sync with the latest economic and political impact this pandemic is having on our global society. And likely, when I finish writing this devotional reflection, I will give in to that urge and go see what I’ve missed. Yet I do wonder, to what end? Why? Why do I so desperately want to stay informed and aware of every last decision our health care professionals and political leaders are making?
At a basic level, I believe it comes from a desire for control that stems from a lack of trust. We all feel vulnerable and exposed in profound ways, and it is therefore natural to want to stay informed so as to not be caught flat footed and unprepared for the impact of this storm. When the ground is shifting underneath us we desperately grasp for anything solid or secure.
I’ve read countless articles written by political leaders, health care professionals, and economists, each of which is entirely convinced they see things clearly and know the right way forward. I’ve also noticed that I, who frankly knows very little about politics, health care, or economics, freely offer my own critique of these people, self-assured of my own read on things and how everything would work out if people would just listen to me! Even more troubling, I’ve seen people trying to speak on behalf of God, giving definitive voice and meaning to what he is up to in all of this and how we as Christians can offer solutions and definitive interpretations. It seems as though we’ve forgotten the ancient wisdom of David, who chose to resist this deeply human impulse. I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
The Lord does not need us to solve problems on his behalf. Our wisdom and insight is not the solution to this problem, nor will any amount of speculation or news consumption cure this disease or calm our souls. Instead, I’m afraid it will only heighten our anxiety and our inability to remain stable and rooted in a time of great upheaval.
Is your heart today in a state of calm and quiet? If you and I are honest, likely we do not like the honest answer to that question. Our hearts and lives may be anything but peaceful or calm. Yet remember this: Our ability to have quiet hearts is rooted in the parental love of God, not in the political response to a pandemic.
Whatever chaos may be swirling about, if a newborn babe is held in the loving embrace of a mother, they are at peace and fully content. May you and I resist the bread of anxious toil (Psalm 127:2), and instead allow the love of God to quiet and still our restless hearts.
Father, thank you that you give to your anxious children the gift of peace and quiet stillness. Help us to rest in you today, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What practical steps can you take to calm and quiet your soul today?
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Our ability to have quiet hearts is rooted in the parental love of God, not in the political response to a pandemic. #WisdomHunters #trust #truth #Jesus
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