It’s been quite the journey over the past two months, hasn’t it?
I sit here after a Mother’s Day lunch with my family and think about the shifts and changes and hardships that have happened in my family, community, and the whole world. I don’t know what specific things you’ve struggled with – if your world increased in busy-ness or suddenly became very quiet, but the underlying anxiety of this pandemic certainly altered everyday life in many ways.
It’s been a struggle. Added pressures in my job and in the children’s schooling. Struggles with my own anxiety and frustrations. Helping my children navigate their disappointments, anger, and fears. Missing the in-person fellowship of family and friends and the undercurrent of uncertainty for finances and health.
I was reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress to some of our church kids this morning, and our chapters focused on “Help” coming to pull Little Christian out of the Slough of Despond. “The King will watch over you, and whenever you need a friend to help you, He will send somebody.”
Throughout the entire book, Christian continues to find rescue over and over again, sometimes when all seems lost. Is it not the way with God and His children? Life can feel isolating, uncertain, discouraging, and fearful. We can drop into the Slough of Despond, lose our way in Vanity Fair, become capture by the Giant, and be misled by Disbelief, but no matter what the trial on the journey, “Help” will always come.
As I spoke to the children, I found the words encouraging my own heart. Though in isolation, we are not alone. Though the future is uncertain, God holds the future. Though we grieve in our lostness…of family, friends, justice, jobs, peace…our Comforter walks with us. The noise of conflicting political views and scandal sounds loud, strong, and constant.
In the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, he recounts how the devastation of war has shaken the pillars of peace on earth. Longfellow, still mourning the death of his wife, and, now, nursing his son back to health after his son was shot in a Civil War battle, talks about how the guns of war have stolen away the Christmas songs of ‘peace on earth’.
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then, as if his heart remembers a truth, his next stanza makes a statement of faith:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
God, our Helper, is awake and aware. He is present. He does not sleep in our heartache, hurts, angers, and fears. Somehow, He is working in and through even the most desperate of circumstances, to bring people to the knowledge of who He is and to display his glory.
The ultimate Peace is ours.
The future is secure
and no trial is ever wasted.
No isolation or fear or conflict can separate us from the love of Christ.
May our hearts find encouragement and hope in the truth that Christ will “never leave us or forsake us”.
Help is here.