“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the width and length, and depth and height- and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)
What more could we ask for? What more could we pray for? For ourselves or others, as we wait. As we struggle with living a life with purpose when we feel like our purpose has been put on hold. I want to encourage you that your purpose has not been put on hold. What you have to offer during this time is crucial. It may look different and some days be hard to figure out, but that is what the “through faith” is for.
When I wake in the morning I am finding that I need to take extra time with the Lord to do “this” again. To do another day of social distancing. Another day of keeping anxiety at bay when doing things that I would normally do, without wondering if the invisible enemy might get into mine, or my loved ones, lives. The things I see now, on the news, when out and about, seem so surreal. Dear reader, aren’t you thankful that you don’t see what’s coming sometimes?
Who would have thought we would be wearing masks, standing six feet away from others and told not to go visit people? That there is the potential of giving something to someone else that could be life-threatening? That going to a church building and worshipping together could be irresponsible?
During these times, I have found I need more structure. More accountability with myself that what I can still do, gets done. I’ve started my “to-do” lists again. I find that just checking off some things that are important to me and my circle is incentive enough to make sure they get done. Laundry, check. Workout, check. And so it goes. I was afraid that if I put my prayer and journal time on the list it would become more robotic and not spirit-filled, but that has not been the case. It goes on the list too. My prayer and journal time are richer than ever. God has seen to that. Do you already do the checklist thing? If not, do you think maybe it will help you right now to keep the things that need to happen, happen indeed? When so many of our “normal” routines have been disrupted, it feels good to create some new ones that you can actually keep.
When things that should normally happen, don’t, because of this virus, it can be very difficult to continue with what control you really do have over your hours and days. If I don’t have to go to work, do I need to shower and dress for the day? If I’ve got all day to do just a few things, is this a license to be lazy? This could be the time in your life when you will shine the brightest! This doesn’t have to finish us and make us feel completely inadequate and out of control. (Preaching to myself here.) May I suggest a few things that might help based on Paul’s prayer for the church?
- Realize the tremendous power of prayer. First thing, for me, just to know that one of the great saints of the Bible, the Apostle Paul, prayed for me. He prayed for you too. He was a faithful servant so I am sure he had God’s ear. He bowed his knee. He humbled himself before God for my sake. I can rest in the fact that I am prayed for and pray for others more with the more time I have at home. That prayer is always accomplishing something. (James 5:16) We do not need to see the results, although He is gracious to show us them at times. Just pray in faith believing and know that God, in His wisdom and power, will use those prayers for our good and His glory.
- Paul prayed that the strength I need for each day is available when needed and the way needed. My weakness is not something to fret about. The strength that I need will be supplied by the power of the Holy Spirit. It will be deep inside me and I will have the faith I need to know that Christ is dwelling with me at all times through His Spirit.
- Paul prayed that the love that God has for me, through Christ, has strong roots. That because of this, I am grounded in the truth of His Word. When other words try to discourage me or cause me to fear, I have His Word as the unfailing truth. I can read it and meditate on it, pray it and practice it. His love surrounds me and envelops me. It is so large I would never be able to fully comprehend its enormity. It will never run out or give up. God’s love is perfect.
- Finally, Paul prays that I would “be filled with all the fullness of God.” To be full with all that it means to call myself a Christian. That I would be a shining example of Jesus. The fullness of God means I would have His character, love like He does and live like Jesus did when He came to earth to show us His Father’s love and character. The word “Christian” means “little Christ.” We are to be “little Christs” in this world, doing big things for His Kingdom. I know that I am no way near that standard, but this is what the journey is about. We are pilgrims as it says in Hebrews 11:13. All our days here are but opportunities to show others how to find God, and how to inherit eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Our lives can be the example of His goodness.
I imagine this wonderful example of a man who was found by Christ when he was on a road to persecute Christians, got blinded by God’s love, gave his life to Christ and then spent the rest of it proclaiming Christ and Him crucified.
“For I am determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:2.
When the troubling thoughts come, when I see myself be less than I hoped and wonder how God could still allow me to draw breath, I want to remember that Paul prayed for me and possibly that is why I can do this again, one more day. And I am praying these verses in Ephesians for you Dear Reader, that you are well and growing in grace during these trying times. One more day at a time.