Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.
This song has been looping in my head for several days now…
It seems appropriate, considering what’s going on in the world.
Each morning, my husband gets up, turns on his computer, and pulls up the official Covid-19 map to see how the world is faring.
Everyday seems to be a little more grim than the last.
The death toll is rising. The economy is collapsing. Unemployment is on the rise. Grocery store shelves are empty. Human interaction has become nearly extinct for much of the world’s population.
You could make a pretty good argument that the world is falling apart.
Many of us are just longing for a little bit of normalcy, right?
But what is normal?
It’s a fair question.
As I look back over my life, I’m not sure which part of it to consider “normal”.
Was normal the period of life when I was a stay-at-home mom dealing with the demands of raising five children?
Or was it when I was getting up and going to work every day?
Perhaps normal was daily cancer treatments or weekly appointments with a therapist or the stress of major financial issues or having twenty surgeries in five years or struggling through a faith transition.
It seems like every stage of my life has had a different “normal”, and most of them have been challenging in one way or another.
Take a minute–stop what you’re doing–and think about the things that have constituted “normal” at different points in your life.
Maybe you’ve spent time grieving the loss of a loved one or getting out of a bad relationship or healing from a major medical issue or dealing with a wayward child. Maybe you’ve found yourself building a new business or making a cross-country move or discovering your partner’s addiction or adjusting to the birth of a new child. Maybe you’ve taken on the role of caregiver to a parent or foster mom for someone else’s child or you’ve gone back to school or changed careers.
No matter who you are, if you look back over the years of your life, you’ll probably discover that “normal” has changed many times, so many, in fact, that you may have a difficult time identifying what “normal” actually means.
The tendency is to think of “normal” as life without problems, but does that definition of “normal” ever actually last?
Today, our normal is a world-wide pandemic.
That is true for all of us.
But that fact doesn’t have to spread panic.
It doesn’t have to take away our peace.
Just as every stage of life has it’s advantages and disadvantages, trials and lessons to be learned, this one does, as well.
Rather than allow anxiety and fear to take over, why not consider the benefits of a quarantine and enjoy the downtime it provides. Why not create a sense of peace?
Ask yourself this question…
What if all of this ends in 30 days?
Will you feel like you made the most of your pandemic normal?
Will your kids look back at these weeks as a time of family bonding or a simulated prison sentence?
Will you return to work rested and rejuvenated or stressed out about the deadlines you’ve missed?
Will your home projects be completed or will your honey-do list be even longer?
Will your relationship with God be stronger or will you feel distanced because of anger and frustration?
The answers to these questions don’t really matter, as long as you’re answering them intentionally.
The truth about this new normal is that you can make of it what you want.
You can react in positive ways or negative ones.
You can treat this as a time to home school, a spiritual retreat, a home improvement marathon, or even a stay-cation. You can catch up on your reading, develop a hobby, study the word of God, or do some spring cleaning. Or you can do nothing!
The beauty of it is that YOU GET TO CHOOSE!
You can emerge as a better person–someone who took advantage of unexpected down time–or you can become bitter.
The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.
And remember, you can have peace!
My favorite story in the Bible takes place in Mark, chapter 4, verses 35-41.
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow; and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Peace, be still.
I’ve often wished that the Savior would hold his hand out over my life and give the command, Peace, be still–just like he did on the Sea of Galilee.
When I think about the things that are going on in the world today, I wonder if that’s exactly what he’s doing.
Life has become increasingly fast-paced with less and less time for us to take care of ourselves, our families and the things that are really important. I’ve said more than one prayer asking for more time to be still, more time to find peace, more time to focus on my family relationships.
It’s a bit unconventional, but it seems like that prayer has been answered in the social distancing and lockdown of Covid-19.
It makes me wonder if God is somewhere listening to our anxious and fearful cries, shaking his head and uttering the words, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Today, I invite you to let go of your fear.
Instead, embrace this opportunity to have more time for the things that really matter.
Because the truth is, this may be the only time in your life that the entire world gets to slow down together.
So, where can you turn for peace?
I’d say it’s all around you, a gift from on high, just waiting for you to reach out and take it.