It’s April 1, 2020– and nobody’s foolin’. This marks the 15th day of my “sabbatical” — a.k.a. “quarantine”– during the coronavirus pandemic and I think it’s safe to say, we’re all emotionally weary.
My walks give a semblance of normalcy during this abnormal season of life. Walking it out with Jesus is still my favorite hashtag!
While on these walks, I often ask God to show me His glory. I know that sounds like a tall order but I’ve found the Creator loves to fill that order. His glory often shows up in a heart or cross etched in the sidewalk, the intricacy of a flower’s petals, birds worshiping on the limbs of the trees, or the breeze blowing fresh air into my lungs.
On one particular walk, Jesus seemed to reveal something of Himself in a shadow. I see it now all the time but today, amid the cloud cover of COVID-19, I wondered … does anybody even remember what time it is? Has everyone forgotten it’s the Lenten season? Has remembering Jesus’ journey to the cross been over-shadowed by the thick darkness of the coronavirus?
Jesus reminded me …
Do you see what I see?
At this particular time of day, when the sun is at just the right angle, the stop sign and the street signs merge together to form a shadow that reminds me of Jesus carrying His cross.
It reminded me of Lent and Jesus and the journey of the suffering Savior to the sunrise resurrection. This time of reflection seemed to be buried in the tomb of despair during this particular Lenten season and I wondered what other “essential” things I had been missing in these days of confusion and uncertainty and anxiety.
As the entire world feels the heavy weight of COVID-19, many are huddling behind a mask of fear and all of us are trying to sanitize our way through the days. The masks are running out. People are still getting sick. Thousands have died. Businesses have had to close their doors. Wages lost. No visitors allowed in the hospital. We can’t get to those we love. Social distancing has left us emotionally depleted.
Finding a Message of Hope in the Shadow of the Cross
As I thought more and more about my shadow encounter on the sidewalk, I realized there’s no weight in a shadow. I passed right through it to the other side. It represented a strong reality but only a picture of what actually was there.
The Spirit also reminded me …
We can hide in the shadow of our Father’s wings. He will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death and we will fear no evil because He is with us. The current trouble we’re in is a shadow and the Almighty God will bear the burden and carry us through to the other side.
And while in the shadow of the Almighty God …
we can hide…
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
and take shelter,
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
and even sing…
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
And maybe the words of Psalm 23 shed new light on the pandemic path. Read it with fresh eyes — inserting new vocabulary based on the current pastures we might find ourselves lying in.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
May this bring hope to you tonight. Let’s huddle together under the Father’s wings …and rest.
Please share any words you might have “inserted” in Psalm 23 that relate to your story during these uncertain times.