“While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”
Can you imagine Jesus walking up to you and your friends today and asking, “What are you discussing?” I think we can all be relatively certain our conversation would have something to do with COVID-19. Lately, I’ve been asking and answering the question, “How are you doing?” Whether it’s to a neighbor across the street or with my co-workers over zoom, my common response has been a small head nod with, “We’re still adjusting”. This new normal is not something anyone in my family wants to continue. My high schooler wants to drive her car to the mall, hug her friends when she sees them and rehearse on a stage at school. Instead, she is trying to learn dance steps and belt her voice during Zoom lessons in our tiny home office. My son, who is trying to finish his last bit of college, wants to be free of his parents and go hang out with his friends. Since he understands that he can be a carrier of the virus and doesn’t want to infect my husband who has health issues, he hunkers down in the basement working out with the home gym he set up and playing Xbox online.
There is so much that is unknown at this point, and that uncertainty can breed fear and anxiety. How long will this last? Will our city be the next to explode with the virus? Will we get sick? Will our loved ones survive it? Will we ever be able to gather again? Will we know when we are back to normal?
This past Sunday, Pastor Rhonda shared good practices of how to combat anxiety and fear. Instead of focusing on our fears, she encouraged us to do two things: stay connected and stay generous. For me personally, it is easy to withdraw from people when I am feeling anxious. So on Sunday afternoon, I forced myself to reach out to a loved one who has lost their job. While I didn’t have a fix for their situation, I could be generous with my time and encouragement. With those in my house, I can offer generous grace when emotions are high and reaffirm my presence and willingness to listen. I can practice Jesus’ example of being there in the midst of fear and uncertainty.
You alone know where this time of uncertainty is headed. Remind us that when we can’t make sense of the world, you have the world in your hands. Help us to feel your presence and to trust that you are bigger than our fear. Help us to love each other better.
In your mighty, saving name of Jesus,
Written by Julie Anderson
Julie Anderson is a member of Sheridan’s Devotion Writing Team. She works part-time as Sheridan’s Children’s Music Coordinator where she is passionate about teaching children to use their musical gifts to praise God.
Julie is married to Scott and counts her greatest honor as being mom to Adrienne, Eliot and Elise.