This morning I woke up groggy and needing a good stretch.
If you’ve been living anywhere with a good ‘word of mouth’ circulation or newscast, you know the world is buckling down in the wake of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. So many things come to mind when I think about it, but one thing I do intentionally try to do is pray every day for our world, the U.S., and for God’s protection and provision in uncertain times.
If you’ve been around me longer than a few hours, you know that I will burst out in song at the drop of a hat. In fact, that’s the way I best commune with God. Yes, I read the bible and have private devotion. Yes, I pray. But many times my prayers are actually songs. There is no rational rhyme or reason to these songs, but they just flow and my heart spills out into the air. Well, as I was praying this morning, a song came to my heart and while it wasn’t an actual prayer, it was a song that I realized is more powerful today than I thought it would be.
The song is “Let’s Just Praise The Lord” by TD Jakes. If you’re of a decent age, you’ll remember when TD Jakes came out with this entire praise & worship album in the late nineties and it was FIYAH!! I began to sing the song’s lyrics as I got ready for the day and headed out for work. (My position is considered essential to the point that I have to physically go to work every day.) Normally by the time I get in my car, my mind will switch to some other thought, but this morning I couldn’t shake the song. I pulled it up via Bluetooth and turned my stereo volume as high as it would go! As the words escaped my mouth, tears began to fall and I just WAILED! I felt God’s tangible presence leap from this song and the lyrics enveloped me in a blanket of security, provision, safety, joy, and peace.
Because in the wake of this pandemic, I believe God is calling US as humans to be still for a moment and turn to Him.
How can we POSSIBLY be still when He is shaking this world to pieces and splitting up families?!
The answer isn’t easy, but simple. Just be. Be intentional about calling out to Him. Pray, journal, sing, cry – do something intentional that shows you are seeking Him for guidance.
If you take some time to put God first, HE will reveal so many things to you. If you take time to offer up a simple praise to Him, you can unlock so many hidden revelations that you otherwise wouldn’t understand.
So as I sang, listened and cried to this song, I realized that God truly is worthy to be praised! Even in the midst of this current chaos, He still deserves it.
Praise the Lord,
He has done great things for me.
Praise the Lord,
He gave me the victory.
Praise the Lord,
He is shelter from the storm.
Praise the Lord,
He is worthy to be praised.
Yes, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected my family and affected my way of life, but all in all, I still praise God. I recognize the enormity of His blessings compared to the inconveniences I’ve experienced. Yes, this pandemic is cause for concern, but not cause to stay fearful. Whether it’s ‘how this bill is going to get paid’ or ‘what meal can I make out of what little I have in the pantry’ – I trust the All-knowing God in an unknown future.
He has brought me a mighty long way,
(A mighty long way),
He has taught me how to pray.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
I’ve got to let men know
Everywhere that I go.
We as a world have come to praise so many created things: social media, musicians, socialites, Netflix, relationships, money, status, horoscopes, friends – that we (as a whole) have neglected to reverence God as the CREATOR who CREATED all of these things in the first place! Whether you see it or not – the morality in this world is going down. People are becoming eviler, the climate is perpetually in crisis, and people are fighting to make a case to live how they WANT to live, even if it’s not how GOD wants them to live. We CAN’T keep scamming folk and think God isn’t going to notice. We CAN’T keep glamourizing hoe-ing and pill poppin’ and think God isn’t going to speak up. We can’t keep glorifying selfish, corrupt living and think God isn’t going to act. Like any parent, He isn’t going to allow us to go down the wrong path and not do something to wake us up. He is going to step back a second and say, “…okay, this is what you REALLY want??! Well, I’ll allow the consequences of some of this stuff to knock some sense into you.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (New Living Translation) declares that, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” In this particular context of the bible, God is specifically speaking to the Hebrew people BUT this statement spans generations – and definitely applies to us. We (as a whole) have forgotten to reverence God for Who He truly is. He is not some wimpy figment of our imaginations – He is a strong, all-powerful God Who sees all. I know many people still can’t fathom how a loving God can allow people to suffer. I am not going to claim to know the EXACT answer because I don’t, but I do know, from personal experience, that there have been times I have suffered physically and financially due to the actions of the GROUP or WHOLE. I personally had my stuff together, but because of the reckless actions of a particular GROUP, I felt the same pain of punishment as well. I believe that is what is happening to us right now. We are TRULY in this life together and the actions of society as a WHOLE has opened up a box of wrath/punishment that ALL of us are witnessing.
But this leads me back to how I started this post….
I recognize the importance of staying turned towards God in this moment. This is a time to praise Him for all that He has done (great and small) and seek Him for help with the future. Even if this year has been crap for you, there is STILL something you can praise Him for.
So, when you finish reading this post I suggest you take some time to do this:
- Write down a list of ANY blessing in your life (ie/ bills were postponed, woke up feeling decent, your family is safe, finished school, had enough food last week, kids are good)
- Write down something that has happened in your life you KNOW wouldn’t have happened without God’s divine intervention (ie/new job, bills were paid, found a new friend, didn’t meltdown at work, terrible boss retired)
- Sit or lie still. Have complete silence or play an instrumental that soothes you. Close your eyes, or stare straight ahead. Ask God to ‘speak’ to your heart.
And that’s it. Stay in it for however you long you feel necessary. He may move your heart in a certain direction. You may feel Him tugging you to change this habit or reach out to that person. You may even feel like God’s not saying anything just yet – but take the time to do it anyway; He may give you a revelation another week down the road. In these uncertain times, focus your attention ABOVE and I’ll pray WITH you that we all come out of this better than we were going in.
–Stay blessed, Joc