For the past couple of months, I would get stressed out when I listened to or watched constant news coverage about COVID-19, numbers of deaths and infected persons, business closures, job losses, possible food shortages, etc. Even now, I sometimes think, “Wow, I can’t believe we’re going through this” because I never imagined seeing anything like this occur in my lifetime. However, things may be getting a little better–Illinois has allowed restaurants, businesses and stores to re-open on Friday. Indiana has allowed some of their stores and restaurants to open back up; this past weekend, I went to a Goodwill store in Indiana which had re-opened, but their restrooms and dressing rooms were closed to the public. All (or most stores) are requiring everyone to wear face masks and to practice social distancing, which is the new “normal” for now.Continue reading
I’m sure you all have heard about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) which started in Wuhan, China, and has spread to various countries and nationwide in the United States. People have died from it, but others are recovering. Celebrities such as Tom Hanks and his wife, Idris Elba, and some NBA players have also contracted the disease. Store shelves are empty, schools and restaurants are closed, and most people are working from home while others have lost their jobs. Events have been canceled and even the NBA has canceled its games. The Center for Disease Control is recommending that we practice social distancing and stay at home.
So today is the first day of 2020 and 2019 is over! It seems like the year went by so fast!
This makes me think of 2 Peter 3:8-9: “…With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” The older I get, the more time seems to fly by. There are times when I hear about a news story that occurred five years ago and I think, “That was FIVE years ago?!” Where did the time go?
On Thanksgiving Day, I watched the Wizard of Oz and noticed some things that reminded me of my walk with Jesus:
- When Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion made their way down the yellow brick road to see the wizard, they encountered obstacles—the Wicked Witch of the West made them sleepy with poisoned poppies; she also threatened to turn Scarecrow into a mattress and Tin Man into a beehive, and she used her flying monkeys to capture Dorothy and her dog Toto. They were frightened but they kept going. Those scenes reminded me of how we’re on our walk with God and we face trials that are discouraging, frightening, or frustrating. We may get distracted or knocked down but we’ve got to get back up, realign our focus, and keep going.
- In the scene where Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion fell asleep after running across a bed of poisoned poppies from the Wicked Witch of the West, Scarecrow and Tin Man cried out for help and Glinda the Good Witch caused it snow so Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion could wake up. This reminded me of how we call on God to help us and He’ll come to our rescue.
- Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow were rescuing Dorothy and Toto from the Wicked Witch’s castle and the witch set Scarecrow’s arm on fire. Dorothy grabbed a bucket of water to toss on him and some of the water hit the witch, causing her to melt. This scene made me think of the various psalms in the Bible (or even Bible stories) that refer to our enemies scheming, plotting, or planning to hurt and destroy us but they end up falling into the trap they set for us (Daniel chapter 6, the book of Ester, where Haman was killed by the pole he set up for Mordecai and psalms 7 and 9, to name a few).
- Dorothy wanted to return home to Kansas, Scarecrow wanted a brain, Cowardly Lion wanted courage, and Tin Man wanted a heart. I remember someone (on TV, online, or was it my mom?) saying that the things they were asking for were already inside of them. Sometimes were constantly searching for someone else to give us things we desire—validation, happiness, etc. but we have to seek God for those things. Our validation comes from Him (he loves and approves of us) and not from the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, and the people we associate with. Our happiness comes from Him when we focus on how He’s helped us in our lives and how He’s been good to us.
The trials or obstacles that we face in our lives show us what we’re really made of. Our trials reveal our weaknesses (complaining, shrinking in fear, etc.) and we tend to think: I don’t know how to deal with this, I don’t want to deal with this. At times, it may feel like we’re being torn to shreds. This is why we need God’s help and strength to get us through every obstacle because He’s the only one (not money, fame, etc.) who can get us through it.
Whatever you’re facing, let God help you through it. He’ll give you the strength to keep going.
March has been a really rough month spiritually. My faith has been so unstable—one moment I felt like I was starting to trust God (I’ve been working on learning to trust Him more), then the next moment I felt frustrated and angry at God. But it turned out that I was only being confused and deceived by the enemy.
A few months ago (on two separate occasions), I was stunned when God revealed that I was being prideful. Pride is one of those sneaky sins that’s usually the root of a deeper issue (i.e. some people may act as if they’re superior to others but truly feel inadequate on the inside because of how others treated them in the past). I knew I was struggling with some things but never thought I was prideful. I used to think that pride was related to being arrogant but after doing some research via online searches and books, it turns out that the following behaviors are prideful: