• Kathryn Elliott

Christians, Keep Your Bearings

Anyone who has ever gone canoeing in a wilderness area knows to take note of landmarks that locate their position relative to their surroundings. When passing a certain pear-shaped island on the right, for example, the campsite is around the next bend, on the left. Losing one's bearings in the wilderness can be disastrous. It can lead to starvation or exposure to danger.

Likewise, in our "wilderness" season of camping out in our homes during the COVID 19 pandemic, losing our bearings as Christians puts us at serious risk of falling prey to fear, despair, spiritual starvation and spiritual hypothermia.

So, what does it mean to keep our bearings in times like this?

Let's do a thought experiment. First, we'll look at what God asked of us before the pandemic started.

Back in the days when there was no deadly virus threatening our grandparents' lives, keeping kids home from school, and compromising the livelihoods of millions of workers, God:

1. Invited us to join in his mission to comfort the afflicted, to show mercy, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied," he said (Matthew 5:6).

2. He drew us toward him in countless ways, welcoming us to spend time with him in prayer and saying that he gave us our daily bread every single day. He reminded us, "Do not worry . . . can any of you by worrying add a single day to your lifespan?" (Matthew 6:27).

3. He sent us his Holy Spirit, to abide in our hearts and guide our decisions, big and small. "Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me," he said (John 15:4).

Now, our circumstances are quite different. Our routines are disrupted. Our incomes are less certain. Conditions are ripe for misery, frustration, and isolation. But what Jesus told us before, he tells us now.

Remain with me. Search the Scriptures for my heart, my wisdom, and my divine life. Take responsibility for your neighbor. Banish every ounce of fear and turn your face to my light, my peace, and my joy. Rely on my Holy Spirit every day. Let not what you hear in the news or your daily suffering discourage you, but rather let it drive you closer to me.

Thank you, God! You are the same, yesterday, today, and forever. You have given us breath and food to eat every day of our lives. We trust you! We believe in your faithfulness.

But as we struggle with these very challenging circumstances, it's probably good to take a moment to reflect and reset, if need be. So take thirty seconds to think about the following:

Reflect: How can I carve out much needed time to be close to God and to meditate on his word during this time of crisis? (Hint: Set a time for it. Maybe even an alarm on your phone.)

Reset: Is there a neighbor or family member that God may want me to check in on and offer support to? (Hint: Consider calling or texting them now.)

And if you need a recommendation for prayer and Bible study, here are two suggestions:

1. Read through the Book of Esther. Notice in particular how Mordecai and Esther pray during the national crisis. Try imitating their prayers in your own words.

2. Read through the Book of Daniel. Make a list of ways that Daniel and his three friends demonstrate faith-filled trust in God. Consider how you can live and speak out your trust in God.

I hope this post helps, everyone! Please comment or message me with suggestions for future posts. Stay healthy, stay sane.

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