“Canadian police stormed an ‘illegal gathering of six people’ in a Gatineau home after a neighbor ratted them out. The residents resisted. Six police – the same number as were gathered in the home – arrived at the door and attempted to break up this nefarious gathering.”
Though the mountains may be moved into the sea Though the ground beneath might crumble and give way I can hear my Father singing over me “It’s gonna be okay. It’s gonna be okay”
Tasha Layton, “Into the Sea“
Many of you have followed our journey over the past year concerning my husband’s health. Steve was exposed to a concentrated amount of mold that landed him in the hospital last fall with double fungal pneumonia. Fast forward to 2020 and a pandemic. After many conversations with his pulmonologist and infectious diseases doctor, we knew COVID would be devastating, even deadly for Steve.
Under Steve’s doctors’ advice, we chose to quarantine before it was a thing, practiced social distancing if we had to make office visits, and masked up when getting out was a necessity. We did all the right things to protect Steve’s health. We thought we were safe until we weren’t.
On October 30, I received a call that we had been exposed to someone with a positive COVID test. Our world began to spin with questions, concerns, even fear. We immediately called Steve’s doctor to formulate a plan of action should things spiral down quickly. And they did.
By November 1, he was symptomatic, and by Nov 3, we were both full-blown COVID. We tried to battle it out at home, taking cues from the doctor. But when you can no longer breathe, your fever will not let up, and one small step leaves you laid out on the floor, it is time to acknowledge this is not something you can push through without help.
On November 9, we fell into our car and prayed our way to the ER. We said, “I love you,” a dozen times on the way to the hospital. When we arrived, I watched my sweetie labor to walk the long hospital corridor alone. I sat slumped over the steering wheel until I couldn’t see him any longer.
I took a breath and whispered, “Oh God. Take care of my sweetie. And get me home safely.” God must have sent a battalion of angels to usher me home. When I arrived, my head collapsed onto the steering wheel, and my body shook with sobs. Did I get him there on time? When will I see him again? Will I see him again?
As I wept, a song played gently on the radio, a song that forced me to look at our storm through the lens of eternity.
It’s easy to sing When there’s nothing to bring me down But what will I say When I’m held to the flame Like I am right now? I know You’re able, and I know You can Save through the fire with Your mighty hand. But even if You don’t My hope is You alone.
MercyMe, “Even If”
In that sacred moment when eternity kisses the earth, and you see life for what it really is, God asks me a question. “Will you praise me no matter the outcome?” This was my “even if” moment. Do I really believe God is good? Can I trust Him when I cannot see the light for the next step? Is he working and moving in ways that are bigger than my temporary trials? Will His extravagant grace and holy love breathe life into hopeless situations?
By now, my tears flow uncontrollably as I find the strength to lift my hands and squeak out the words, “Even if you don’t, my hope is you alone.”
Steve was admitted to ICU that evening. The doctors said had I not brought him in, he would not be with us today. Three days later, another trip to the ER, and I was admitted with COVID induced pneumonia.
For several days Steve’s life teetered back and forth, while my oxygen levels prevented me from barely taking two steps. Both tethered to oxygen; we found hope in the truth that our very breath is not of our own making. It is in God that we live and move and have our being. Each step I was forced to take in the dark of night, I would clutch my hospital gown and pray, “Father, it is your breath in my lungs that moves me. So, I look to you to fill me with your breath, and I will pour out my praise to you only.”
Steve and I have weathered many storms. But both confess that this has been one of the darkest times. We have been stripped of all the securities we hold so tightly in this life and are being given the gift of learning that Christ is enough. All else pales in comparison to His glory.
After a week in the hospital, we are now home recovering. We have repeatedly been told it would be a long, slow, steady recovery that cannot be rushed. We are finding this to be true. Simple tasks that we once took for granted require so much effort. But we are finding God to be faithful, His grace more than sufficient, and His wrap-around presence healing balm for our tired souls.
I share this with you in hopes that you will find some comfort in knowing that the same God who is walking us through this is at work in your life as well. He loves His children and longs for us to know Him intimately. Unfortunately, the depths of His love are often revealed through the sorrows of life. We all encounter seasons when we are backed against the wall, with no escape plan in view, just darkness. That is when we feel His nail-scarred hand on our shoulder, hear Him whisper “I am with you,” and catch the unforced rhythm of His heartbeat gently guiding us along.
Hope for the Journey is a weekly devotional, sent out to my subscribers, and the space where I share my journey about finding God in the struggles of life. If you would like to join the journey of discovering hope no matter the circumstances, I would love to have you along. Just sign up here: Hope Journey.
It begins: “Despite reports that Moderna’s vaccine has no connection to fetal cell lines from elective abortions, the creation of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine isn’t so morally clear cut.”
Further on, Ms. Trasancos notes: “In a patent Moderna filed in 2019 presenting similar technology with mRNA, they repeatedly describe the use of HEK293 cells, including in the development of the lipid nanoparticle delivery system.
“So, the claim that Moderna’s vaccine is ‘ethically uncontroversial’ because it has no connection to unethically derived materials does not seem to be supported as both the development of the spike protein sequence, the mRNA expression in testing, and the lipid nanoparticle delivery system are described as using the HEK293 cell line derived from an aborted fetus.
“Instead of assigning this vaccine to a category that suggests no more caution is needed, I think it is better to slow down and look at the big picture. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a vaccine that was produced decades ago. We are not like the parents who sit in doctors’ offices accepting a morally tainted vaccine because there are no alternatives while voicing an objection that goes nowhere. Rather, we are talking about a vaccine currently in development, a vaccine that could be required for the entire population in a year’s time, a new kind of vaccine that has never gone to market before and will certainly undergo more testing and development. This means that we can’t passively accept the possibility of morally tainted work. We need to speak up loudly with clarity and courage about the ethics and insist upon an ethical option. It could redirect this entire issue towards the good.”
In a world beset by bad news, there is always a glimmer of hope. One such glimmer was recently published at The American Spectator: “A Report from the Front” by George Parry. A band of physicians in the “Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium” has published a treatment protocol that avoids ventilation and focuses instead on reducing inflammation and coagulation in COVID-19 patients. Praise God!
“Make no doubt about it: COVID-19 is a dress rehearsal for a police state. Dennis Prager is taking a bold stance on the coronavirus because he is dedicated to truth. He also addresses the left’s contempt for working people, the growing threat of a police state, and the danger of putting our health above our rights and freedoms.”
“When the Counselor comes, who I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me.”
Jesus, in John 15:26
A little more than a year ago I inherited the teaching duties in our church’s Thursday morning seniors “Mustard Seed” Bible study fellowship. At age 65 I am the “kid” in the group, and I can barely describe how enriching it is to share Scripture with this weekly group of seasoned, Bible-savvy saints.
Currently we have not met since Thursday, March 12, which was pretty much the last open day in Indiana before everything, including our East 91st Street Christian Church, area schools, and public meetings started shutting down Friday, March 13.
Mustard Seed–no argument there–is the kind of group that especially needs not to meet when a pandemic like COVID-19 is an evident danger to older folks.
But what I wanted to talk about this week is not the dire, dour, and depressing isolation of our nation’s and indeed the world’s present situation. Nor can I think of anything new to say about our individual and largely home-bound circumstances. To all those folks still out there working every day in hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, and other life-saving and society-sustaining endeavors, I say “Thank You!”
What I do want to discuss is the plain-as-the-nose-on-my-face fact that perhaps the greatest joy-robbing, hope-jangling feature of this unprecedented time is the utter absence of what I would call reliable truth about virtually anything having to do with the reporting, media narrative, and politics surrounding the pandemic. Who can we trust?
From China to Washington state to New York City to Washington D.C. to Italy to my home here in Fishers, Indiana, I wonder who is pushing which social, political, or economic agenda. What is the real danger: the disease or our reaction to it? Since “tomorrow is guaranteed to no one,” let’s not panic about the presently more intense vagaries of “tomorrow.” What we all need are facts and truth, not fear and spin.
I started by talking about “Mustard Seed” because our past several months have been a study of “The Words of Jesus.” Especially illuminating to me personally, in the Last Supper and Gethsemane sections of John 14-17, is Jesus talking through these four entire chapters about God’s unwavering righteousness, eternal truth, boundless love, infinite glory, their relationship… and His disciples’ responsibilities going forward.
This truth–His truth–marches on. In His last hours it is virtually all Jesus talks about.
When we can’t see truth–in anything, whether particular or whole–our human misery most likely is in our inability to see God, relate with Jesus, and listen to the Holy Spirit. The world, for unrighteous reasons in times like these, prefers our focus to be on fear and anxiety. These are man’s evil shackles that choke our free breath in Christ.
I listen carefully for God’s truth. I know that’s what Jesus brought into the world–freedom not just from our own sin and the wiles of wicked men and women, but toward faith, hope, love, peace, creativity, and joy that our trust in God’s eternal truth assures.
What a better world we make, and what joy we reap, when we believe in and testify to God’s truth. The fallen world controls us in fear, but Jesus by His life, death, resurrection, and sending of the Spirit let God’s righteous, saving truth out of the bag.
Sometimes we have to fight for that truth, but our joy always is in knowing it.
There is one thing that I have learned in my years of walking with Jesus, and it is this-there is nothing wasted in this life, even our pain when we seek Christ first.
COVID-19 has brought with it a roller coaster ride of emotions, fears, doubts, anger, and depression. There have been times my knuckles turned white with anxiety as I grasped for anything to anchor the sinking feeling in my stomach. Then God in His tender grace reminded me to quit grasping for a safe place to land and start seeking Him and His ways first.
So, I did. I let go of the tight grip of false security and lifted my hands in the air in the act of surrender—the wrap-around peace of my Father met me there.
Such sweet peace. As I rest daily in Christ’s embrace, He gently whispers wisdom to my heart. This wisdom is guiding me moment by moment as I walk daily through COVD-19.
The first step is I take a deep breath, pause in His presence, and whisper a simple prayer. I start the day off with this prayer, end the day with this prayer, and whisper it several times throughout the day when I feel the knees of my faith start to buckle.
“Dear Father, take my feet and anchor them in You that I may walk the way You have for me today (Psalm 49:2). Hold my heart close to Yours that I may learn Your ways and remain true to Who you are. Only then will life-giving words flow from my lips, bringing glory to Your name in pain (Psalm 73:23-28, Proverbs 4:23). Protect my mind from the lies of the world. Let the battlefield of my mind be a place where Your Word runs freely, washing and renewing me to think from an eternal perspective (Ephesians 5:26).”
The second step is one I shared in last week’s devotional, and that is burden casting (1 Peter 5:7). Whenever my heart feels overwhelmed, I take a deep breath, pause in His presence, and ask Him to search my heart and reveal the source of my anxiety. When He shows me the cause, then I cast that care on Him and ask forgiveness for trusting in anything besides Him. Then I look for steps that move me away from the anxiety.
That is why I choose carefully the amount of media I allow to influence my heart. Too much input and the anxiety pounds in my chest, fear rises in my throat, and I quickly look for comfort in all the wrong places. When this happens I ask myself which is more important-to gain mounds of knowledge or guard my heart.
The third step is to go on a hunt for God throughout the day. Where do I see the evidence of His grace at work? When I discover these God moments, I offer up the gift of gratitude (Psalm 7:17, Colossians 2:7).
The grace gift may be as simple as laughter shared with my husband as we cook dinner together or as miraculous as the healing of a friend diagnosed with COVID-19. Regardless, gratitude shifts my focus from the crisis to Christ and in return, He lifts my heart from fear to faith.
These three simple steps have become part of my daily routine. They guide me into discovering hope for the journey.
I realize we are #Inthistogether, but we each have our unique circumstances and processes in getting through this. Maybe you have some steps in place that are anchoring you to hope in Christ. I hope so. If not, then I pray one of my action steps will provide you a reliable place to start.
Let’s keep finding hope in the journey, Evelyn
P.S. I had a “baby”! At least that is how several of my friends have described my journey to finishing my book proposal. Well, I finished it. And I can’t thank you enough for all the prayer support and words of encouragement. My next step is a final copy edit and the design. After that, I get an agent and pray for God to let my words land with the right publisher. How scary exciting is that!?
P.S.S. My friend Shakti and I finished the free printable promises, 24 Scriptures of Hope for Hardtimes. I can’t wait to share them with you. Just click on this link24 Scriptures of Hope for Hardtimes.and “ta-da,” they are yours. I want to get whatever resources into your hands that can serve as reminders that our God is faithful, we are not alone, and we will come out of this better than ever if we lean wholeheartedly into Christ. Be blessed, my friends.
Hi There! My name is Evelyn. I am a lover of all things family, faith and Fall. So grateful that you found your way here. The chaos of life can leave us feeling a bit worn around the edges. Sometimes a little ray of hope is all we need to provide courage for the next step in our journey. So come on in, take a deep breath. My prayer is that in this space, you will be able to grab hold of hope. For more of my blogs, visit my website Hope for the Journey.