Land of the Living

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“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 

Wait for the LORD, be strong, and let your heart take courage;  wait for the LORD!”~Psalm 27: 13

Anybody else struggling with Fall scheduling?  Making schooling decisions, business decisions, keeping social commitments rather than sinking into more isolation?  Struggling to know how and when to socialize with friends? Returning to the land of the living.

How do we leave the last 5 months of “normal” behind and try to navigate the “new-new normal?” 

In case you do not know, I am a planner.  I really like to know what is happening, what is coming, what to expect.  Right now my planning looks like this:   Plan A, Plan B1, Plan B2, Plan C, Plan Z etc.   Anyone else?

2020 has completely upended and unraveled all abilities to plan.  In the midst of these last 5 months of “normal” I had to: pivot my home music studio to online lessons overnight, transition my son to living at home, live with Lupus all the while trying to keep my stress level low(lol, good luck with that!).  We also got a puppy (you too???) and have grew use to having both parents at home ALL THE TIME.  

And now the Fall is upon us.  School is starting back up and we have made our decisions about how many days a week our kids will attend.  My music studio semester launches this week.  My husband started back to teaching in person at his school.   This week I also find myself training for our MOPS year, planning childcare for my MOPS Bible study, and serving on the church worship team in person-my first time back to church.  

Navigating reentry of the public, social sphere of commitments has been hard.  I love people.  I love groups of people.  I love connecting and communicating, leading and listening.    But planning for socialization and what living in community looks like during a pandemic is stressful and confusing.  We are made for community, but what do we do when gathering in community can be a risk to ourselves or to others?  And more importantly, how do we handle the fear and feelings of isolation this year has brought?  The feelings of confusion and risk?

Last week I was asking myself these questions and praying that God would bring clarity to my confusion, comfort to my anxiety, and reality and reason to my questions of the unknown.  The verse from Psalm 27:13 immediately popped in my mind – ”I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”  This song of David has so many applicable truths for our lives today.  I would encourage you to read the Psalm, then join me in this reflection:

Psalm 27 was written by David in a dark and isolated time of his life.  Hiding out, trying to stay out of arm’s reach from enemies and certain death, David cries out to God.  In his isolation and fear, he reminds himself of essential truths that serve as anchors to his hope.  Psalms are songs that are meant for public and private use and worship.  They have been preserved in the Bible because we need these reminders, just as David did.  We face enemies, fear and death just as David did – although maybe not hiding out in a cave while someone is trying to put a sword through us!  Nevertheless, I believe these truths and this song of David can be of help to us in 2020 as we face similar struggles of fear, isolation, and uncertainty.

  1. First off, David reminds himself that he is not alone.  The LORD is with him.  God is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than any enemy he faces. He names God as his light, salvation, stronghold.  To him, God is beauty and goodness.  From these truths about God, David realizes that God will indeed cover him, protect him, and restore him.  David anchors himself to God in the midst of the storm.
  1. He asks the LORD to teach him, even in this harrowing situation.  David says “teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”  He asks to learn what he can learn, so that he can face what he needs to face and be who he needs to be.  
  1. He reminds himself that his situation is only temporary – that one day he will once again return back to a “normal” life.  His desire is to serve the LORD as king over Israel, which God has called him to be.  In this calling, he also longs to worship the LORD in his temple.  He keeps the hope of future deliverance at the forefront of his mind, because he knows that God will fulfill his purpose.  God does not give up on His people, His plan or His creation.  

 

We might not be on the run from enemies, but we certainly can relate to the threat of death in our world right now, the isolation 2020 has brought to all, and the hope of re-entering the community that we desperately need.  David had lost not only the freedom to live out in the open, but also to pursue his calling of being king and serving the people of Israel.  We are made for community and calling.  When those two purposes are stripped away we are left bereft, anchorless.  In so many ways this is what 2020 has brought to us.  

So friends, join me in anchoring to the LORD as we wait.  Draw peace and strength from Him as we wait for restoration to the life He has called us to.  Lean into Him as we make decisions to rejoin the relationships and community He has chosen for us.  Cry out to him with your fears and confusion.  Pray alongside David, listing what you know to be true about God and who He is.  And patiently wait for God to answer and to lead us back to the land of the living.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 

Wait for the LORD, be strong, and let your heart take courage;  wait for the LORD!”~Psalm 27: 13

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