Today was supposed to be Tax Day until COVID-19 showed up. I imagine that no one is mourning that. The truth is that by now, you’ve probably missed out on something you care about: a birthday party, a recital, a church service, a trip. You are probably going to miss something else before this is all said and done.
You will miss the opportunity to see friends.
You will miss the opportunity to be embraced.
You will miss your old routines.
You will miss the security of old things that no longer feel expected or obvious.
Missing these things leads to grief. Some of you have seen the “missing” turn into a “longing” and the longing turn into sadness or grief. I want you to hear that the sadness is okay. The sadness is natural and part of the process.
The poet David AKA King of Israel wrote several Psalms that are sad – and hopeful.
“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:6-9).
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:1-3).
“Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:1-4).
People of faith – including the man after God’s own heart – experience fear, anxiety, sadness, pain, doubt, and disappointment! It’s not that we don’t or won’t, but how we respond. As a friend of mine likes to say, “Be gentle with yourself.”
When you get sad, be gentle with yourself.
When you get frustrated with your fellow quarantiners, be gentle with yourself (and them).
When you get fearful because of the news or other lines of impact, be gentle with yourself and pray.
When you get anxious, be gentle with yourself and read some Scripture or share with a friend.
When you get angry that this is taking too long, be gentle with yourself and take a walk.
It’s not going to last forever, friends, and in the meantime, we can grow closer to God.