“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
In the midst of these unprecedented times, we hear continuous reminders of the need for social distancing to protect ourselves and others against the spread of this virus. As the number of cases continues to rise, schools and businesses remain closed, and the daily life many of us are living is bordering on monotonous. For some, this may be leading them down a path of discouragement, fear and uncertainty. For you, maybe it is a welcome “slow down” - even though it is under unfortunate circumstances. Ideally, all of us will be able to find the silver lining in this current dark cloud that hangs over our daily lives. If we can all take a deep breath, forget our fears, and turn off the news channel for a few minutes, we can do ourselves a lot of good by focusing on the finer things in life.
Steve Winwood sang a song in the ‘80s called “The Finer Things.” While I do not know his inspiration for writing that song, when I heard it on my morning walk earlier this week, it really struck a chord with me. There are a lot of things (more than normal) out there to get us off course right now. Doubt, fear, and uncertainty are just a few words that come to mind when I think about the range of emotions many of us feel these days. Despite these understandable emotions, we have so much to be thankful for when we truly reflect on what God has given us. These are the “finer things” that I hope we can keep in the forefront of our hearts and minds as we approach each new day He gives us to live in His light.
I have no doubt all of us have felt our own degree of sadness in recent weeks. Some have lost loved ones. Others have struggles with jobs, school, relationships, and other broken parts of life right now. But, all of us are anxious about the illness threatening all of us today. Maybe it is scary for you. It is sad for all of us. Our lives have been altered a great deal in recent days. In many ways, we may feel we are broken. Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “We are all broken; that is how the light gets in.” Now, more than ever, we need to acknowledge that we need light in our lives. God is that light and He is all around us - all the time.
We may feel as though we are walking alone at times. Through this current scare or in our personal struggles themselves, the feeling of loneliness can certainly take us into deeper, darker places in our minds than any of us care to be. In times like this, many feel like they are in a downward spiral that they cannot stop. And for all of us, the reality is we alone may not be able to stop the hurting - whatever it may be. However, when we are able to slow down for a moment, take that deep breath, we can be reminded that we are not alone. In Joshua 1:9, we are reminded of this ... Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
God knows our every struggle. He knows exactly what we need. In Matthew 6:8, we read … “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” It may not be what we think we need, but He is ready to help us get what He knows we need. I know I sometimes reach a point of feeling complete helplessness. You know what I usually realize looking back on these times? I look back and see myself not taking time to talk with God daily (or more). I was too busy worrying and trying to fix things to remember that the one person who has the power to fix everything that is broken was waiting on me to stop - and talk to Him. I believe God is the “good wind to blow me home” as Winwood sings in his song. God has His ways of getting our attention. The farther we are from Him, the more impactful His efforts to bring us back home.
I am at my best when I am at home. I like being home. Too many times we get so busy that we do not take enough time to enjoy home. I am not talking about our physical homes (although it is very nice to be able to relax in the comfort of our homes). What I am referring to here is the “home” that God provides us. That place of rest we read about in Matthew 11:28.
When we are at home with God, it gives us greater clarity. It is easier for us to focus on all the blessings we have instead of all that is broken. Worldly problems do not completely go away, but they seem far less daunting when we are with God. When we take the time to be grateful for the family and friends we have to strengthen us, we can better face the trials of life. God has given us those people in our lives. When we give thanks for the jobs we have in these uncertain financial times, we are thanking God because He is the reason we have these jobs. When we can look forward to that Bible study with our church family on Zoom, we can be assured that we are “at home” with God, because He put it on the hearts of all of us to take part in that special time together.
I am thankful for the “finer things” in life. I hope that I do a much better job in the days ahead of being at home with God and not allowing myself to drift toward loneliness. It is not the fancy or material things in life that are the finest. In reality, the finest things are those that cost us nothing at all. God has given them to us. Our family, our friends, the church. And not only that, but He has given us the time to enjoy these things. These days, it seems we have even more time to enjoy them. Make the most of these times. Thank God everyday for the rest that He provides. We are all weary and burdened at one time or another. God is always there … waiting on us … at home.
“Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence in our lives. Thank you for your love for us that never wavers. In the midst of struggle and difficult times in this life, you are the light that gives us hope. Help us to remember all the finer things you provide for us. Keep us mindful of the strength that You provide through the blessing of family, friends, and Your church. May we be a strength to all the people in our lives throughout this day and all the days to come. In Jesus name, Amen.”