This is a strange time to be living in. For many it is a devastating time. But even for those who have not lost income, faced health scares or, at worst, lost loved ones to the current pandemic, it’s a hard time in which to feel good about life. I find it is all too easy to get lost in a sort of depression: a heaviness and listlessness, a sadness and unarticulated anxiety for the future. And that’s not a place I want to remain in. But what helps alleviate it?
I was recently reminded of one of my favourite stories from the Old Testament.
“And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17)
I love this story for the simple yet profound power in the words “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Even in this time of isolation and distance, uncertainty and loss, we are surrounded by the invisible forces of Good, forces too great to number. And we are strengthened by the multitudes of people rising up to offer help in any way it is needed.
I have felt defeated many times in the last 6 weeks. And I have also been touched and inspired by the acts of goodness pouring out from so many sources.
“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8)
The light and the Lord are stronger, they always have been. And that is never more clear than in witnessing human acts of kindness, from simple help with shopping or sharing of scarce goods, enthusiastic mask making, generous donations, all the way to the medical staff working on the front lines to save lives–the men and women who don’t even go home to see their families.
These acts of selfless service remind me of the second of the great commandments: the words which I know so well and the idea so simple that I often forget to really hear it.
‘‘And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)
This crisis has given me a different perspective on what this commandment looks like in action. I do not mean to say that these good things erase the hardship and loss. They don’t. But for me they restore hope and they restore trust.
Do you feel the same way? I would love to hear what has been helping you. Where have you seen the Lord and what helps you to trust in Him throughout these hard times?
I will end with this final quote which feels especially relevant after the celebration of Easter.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)