I, like you, are cloistered at home for the most part, watching WAY too much TV, most of it reports about the Coronavirus sweeping the world. Words of inspiration come from amazing sources. This prayer came from my Methodist Credit Union:
A PRAYER FOR PANDEMIC
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose from preserving their health or paying the rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who have settled in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no homes.
As fear grips our country,
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
As I write this we are in the season of Lent. I’ve been preaching a sermon series called “The Way of the Cross.” As we are in this terrible plight of Coronavirus, I can imagine all the people who cry out to God, wondering if He can in any way relate to their suffering. The cross PROVES that God can relate. For the millions who find themselves in deep despair they only need to turn to the cross and see our Savior in the GREATEST of despair. As Jesus hung on the cross, he spoke words that had been written by David hundreds of years before, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me.” I sit in a comfortable parsonage with plenty to eat and only needing to decide what to watch on TV, but I see the images of hospitals filled with virus victims and empty streets in the belief that the social distancing will put an end to the disease and death that has plagued the world. Does Jesus care? O YES He cares.
I have only written one phrase, but to read all of David’s agony, pick up your Bible and read Psalm 22. You wonder how the man who wrote the greatest words of peace in Psalm 23 could have possibly written these words of sorrow and forsakenness in Psalm 22. The words of Psalm 22 sound like unbelief, but as we think about it, they talk about belief. “My God, my God.” Who ELSE would you cry out to in times of forsakenness?
As you continue reading the Psalm, you hear David crying out for God’s help. “Be thou not far from me, O Lord: O my strength haste Thee to help me.” CS Lewis, in The Problem of Pain said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I would agree with Mr. Lewis that the world we live in has been deaf to things that God has been trying to say to us. We have made up our own rules of morality and sexuality and God has been trying to speak to us. The beauty of David’s cry is that he ran TO God and not away from Him.
The beauty of crying out to God is that we know there’s somebody else on the other end of the line. The last part of v. 21 of this Psalm simply says, “You have answered me.” I wonder how long this terrible devastation will go on. I have no idea, but I’m assured that God knows. That same Psalm writer wrote in Psalm 30, “Weeping may come in the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Do you and I understand why God allows this suffering? No. But there are things that we’ll never understand until we go to be with Him. Paul said, “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I also am known.”
We’ll continue to see those images on TV. And that’s our cue to pray.