God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in our time of trouble.
As we enter our second week of staying at home and self-quarantining, perhaps there is no better psalm than this one to guide us and give us comfort. Most of us have suffered at some time in our lives or lost someone we love dearly, and we know what it means to lean on the everlasting arms for help. God is our refuge.
And this time is no different. People are coping in different ways, but the one constant needs to be our faith. Most days I look at funny memes and sobering data, and say my prayers. I wish I had thought to buy stock in Door Dash and Maker’s Mark and Mars, for peanut M&M’s are starting to become my balm. At any given hour for me it is an odd combination of humor and anxiety, stories about toilet paper hoarders and announcements to shelter in place. And so what can we do?
We must do as we always have, as generations of the faithful have always done, we must look to our God, our refuge. Mother Angelica, a Catholic nun who had a television show, once said, “If you’re experiencing stress or tension give it to Jesus. Tell Him, ‘I feel like crawling the wall, but I love You and I want to give this to You.’ Do you think our Lord wasn’t tense living with those 12 screwball apostles?” The thought of Jesus trying to shelter in place with the 12 apostles each night and watching them argue over who gets what bed or who drank the last of the wine does make me smile as I hide my stash of Pop Tarts from the family. The world has advanced in so many ways, but the range of emotions that human beings experience has been the same for thousands and thousands of years.
So my words today are that we must hold fast to what we know by our faith is true, even when we are scared. And every time we struggle with an emotion of fear or anxiety, we should bring it to Jesus in prayer just as Mother Angelica suggested. We should process every emotion we have in prayer.
May God give us the strength to meet the days ahead.
If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.
And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceedingly well.
(Julian of Norwich)
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