I sat down this morning and started to write, but before I could think about this section of Psalm 119, I wrote two full pages reflecting on this pause button called COVID19. I am in week 8 of quarantine, which is a lot even for an introvert. Once I made the surreal trek (empty planes, vacant airports) home, I was able to redeem the time. However, there are so many people who can’t handle the pause. Some have economic stress. Some are living alone and deal with mental and emotional stress. No one is talking about a five-year plan; it’s hard to imagine a five-week plan in the middle of a pandemic. The unknowns and insecurity of the future are frightening.
What does a pandemic have to do with the psalm about God’s law? We can’t predict what the world we knew will look like on the other side of this fear. It seems like the longer it goes on, the more hostility builds up among us. Everyone names a different scapegoat. Everyone trusts a different expert. Everyone has an opinion. The hostility comes when scapegoats, experts, and opinions collide.
The real danger comes when we are so focused on scapegoats, experts, and opinions that we lose sight of Jesus. The insecurity of COVID19 has many of us turning to the idols of scapegoat, expert, and opinion instead of to the Word.
Keeping ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21) and drawing near to God (James 4:8) begins with a pure and wholehearted seeking after the Lord no matter what our circumstances may be. When our whole hearts focus on Jesus, there is no place for idols of any kind.
Studying and memorizing the Word equips us to withstand anything that might try to separate us from our faith by distraction. When we spend time with the Lord, He becomes the lens through which we see the world and everything in it.
When we delight in Him, even in unstable and difficult times (or maybe especially in unstable and difficult times), we can endure. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint because God’s love is in it! (Romans 5:4-5)