COVID19 quarantine orders are beginning to lift in many places, and people are stepping outside to regain some kind of control over their lives. With relaxed shelter-in-place advice, people are beginning the process of making meaning of the last two months. Arguments over blame for the pandemic and conspiracy theories are replacing the “we’re all in this together ” mindset of Marcg and early April. The virus is shifting from a medical issue to a political one; statistics are cherry-picked, ad hominem attacks are retaking center stage, and facts are so surrounded by opinions that it is hard to know what’s true.
After 9/11, the last major national crisis, people came together in community to support each other, whether or not they were personally touched by the people lost to terrorist highjackers. This time, although the death toll is far higher, that immediate sense of community is already fading. It makes me wonder, why can’t we move forward as a culture to at least try a season of grace?
Psalm 119 offers one reason: when we lose our focus on the Father and His ways, we end up in the dust. We can’t see clearly through the dirty lenses of our own thoughts, and so we respond by lashing out, trying to feel our way to some hopeful stronghold.
The example of the psalmist is another way to find our way that relies on God’s strength instead of our weakness. We choose to meditate on God’s wonder, we confess our misguided ways to our Father, we choose faithfulness, setting His rules before us and clinging to His testimonies. When we choose these better attitudes, God will teach us His ways (far higher than ours), keep us from shame, and enlarge our hearts. Our larger hearts allow us to act out of compassion instead of fear. We don’t need to be right in the eyes of social media and the world when we live according to His word.