3/30/20 Reflections: Lent, God Stories, and Prayer

March 30, 2020  |  Stephen Collins

by Teena Dare

It feels like everything keeps changing drastically and quickly. Weeks ago the threat of COVID-19 and its implications for our lives and communities still felt distant. Today, it seems that nothing remains untouched by the ripple effects of this pandemic. As a community we are experiencing this time in many different ways. Some of us face unemployment, others are especially medically vulnerable, and for some- anxiety or loneliness makes it feel impossible to be hopeful.

In this time of instability, I want to invite us to finish out this season of Lent well. Practicing Lent connects us with Christians around the world and throughout history who confess that we desperately need Jesus.

We fast during Lent in order to redirect our deepest appetites toward the one who made us and wants to satisfy all of our longings through his presence and provision. Lent is truly a time that trains us to lean into our true savior when things come crashing down around us. In times of fear and uncertainty, we often turn to many things that don’t ultimately satisfy us or bring hope. Lent is a time where we repent of ways our loves have been disordered. Ways that money, food, health, (social) media, or work have grown to be our source or aim of life instead of knowing and glorifying Jesus.

In this unique Lent season, let’s continue to train for what we’re called to be: a people who find our ultimate hope in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. This is unshakeable. God promises in sickness and health, financial security and instability, life and death, to love us and care for us as a husband who gave his life for his bride.

His faithfulness has been put on display throughout the story of Scripture and in the life of the Saints, especially in times of trial and crisis. We need to cling to his promises now more than ever, and the world desperately needs to see this hope embodied in a people who are steadied and sent by the love of God.

God Story:

Among the countless canceled events, I was so looking forward to my 18-week ultrasound where we’d find out the gender of our second baby. But when we arrived at the clinic they broke the news that I was the only one allowed in. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. As I sat alone waiting for my appointment, tears began to flow for this and the other little losses this time has brought.

I walked over to the third-story window and there it was. A massive rainbow seemingly spanning the length of creation. God whispered, “this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be but I’m going to restore it all. I made a promise and here’s a public, glorious reminder- I love my world and will heal every part of it.”  

His presence was so tangible in that moment, it made me lose sight of my own sadness. He helped me grieve for others who are very alone in this time and pray for his provision. He led me to rejoice over the family he’s given me. And as I watched the ultrasound, I marveled at the new life he is so intimately and carefully forming in me. What a reminder that he is still at work in very visible and invisible ways, even now. Oh and by the way…it’s a boy! 

A prayer based on Psalm 46:

Father, you are our refuge and strength, present and close when we feel anxious or powerless. The whole Earth seems to be overwhelmed by disease and its effects, but Lord we will not fear when we draw near your throne. Thank you Lord that you dwell within your Church. A river flows from your Spirit, refreshing us with new life. Let those waters flow through us into your thirsty world in need of hope and mercy.

God, you promise to be our strength as we rise each day. Train our hearts to turn to you before anything else. Don’t allow media or other demands take your place on the throne of our hearts. In the midst of global suffering and instability you call us to be still and know that you are God. This is your world that you love deeply. Please pour out your grace and restore what’s broken. Hold this virus at bay, bring healing and hope, and be glorified as Lord over all nations. Thank you for being with us at all times and forever, Amen.