There is a war – between fear and love, disappointment and contentment, anxiety and gratitude, sickness and health. They are all so close they are touching.
So contagious is fear that it stunts the growth of our love. So present is sickness that we’re constantly second guessing our health. So wide spread is anxiety that it’s building a dam between us and the raging, healing torrent of gratitude.
Matthew 6:25-34 ESV
Traffic and Pollution Plummet as U.S. Cities Shut Down for Coronavirus, The New York Times.
Image Source: Sentinel-5P satellite data processed by Descartes Labs
And in this pause I wonder on my favorite part of nature – is Yosemite National Park deserted? Is it quieter, cleaner, more peaceful now, without the chaotic clutter of us? I don’t know, because we’re not there, but I can imagine if we were we would realize the trees aren’t anxious. The birds aren’t worrying. Those ancient rocks aren’t feeling disconnected from their purpose. They know exactly what they were made to do. I can almost hear God whispering it on the wind that passes from this national park to our home in Seattle…
"Nature isn’t worried, because nature knows I will care. See the birds of the air, the lilies of the field? They know I am unchanging. They know their purpose. They are doing exactly what they are made to do. They are flourishing during this time. You can too."
It’s a beautiful whisper for our worried souls – He cares for us, no matter what. He can grow us, no matter what.
100 years before this pandemic shut down the world, a man named Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “We now understand God’s rest to be at the same time the rest for His creation.” Many of us are resting, for the first time in a long time, and so is the earth. We have finally stopped over working the land, sending pollution into the air. Instead there is an inhale – a pause, a breath, for only few weeks of time but nonetheless still a pause.
"We now understand God’s rest to be at the same time the rest for His creation." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This pause is an invitation into freedom from worry, into the hands of a God who is in control, who already conquered sickness and death, and who cares even more for us than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
ou prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23 ESV