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Weekly Devotionals

Know That God Loves You

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.’

– Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

Although 2020 is over we are still in the middle of a pandemic. By this point everyone is feeling somewhat off-kilter. We’re anxious about invisible threats to our health, frustrated in our desires to socialize and exercise, and wearied by the effort to keep our chins up in general. It’s been almost a full year of on-again off-again social distancing measures, so we’ve watched just about everything, started all the projects and tried multiple self-care strategies. We’re all struggling and waiting for an end to this.

Recently I lamented to a friend about my poor handling of this pandemic. I shared how my wiser health practices have almost completely fallen by the wayside. Government measures mean I exercise sporadically and eat less healthy. My morning routine is a shambles because I feel more tired, push ‘snooze’ too much, and skip morning devotions with shame-inducing frequency. Life feels like ‘Groundhog Day.’ Often on evenings and weekends I sit in front of a screen snacking. I’m hardly able to muster energy to make plans or contact friends and family. Of course I’ve also been self-criticizing my failures in self-discipline.

My friend responded with well-needed perspective. “Come on, look around us! The streets and shops are unbelievably empty. From the news it’s like the world is ending daily. We’re coping with unprecedented times – you can’t expect to be at your best right now! You’ve got to cut yourself some slack.”

This snapped me back into the perspective I’d been lacking. God loves me in all my imperfections and is with me to help me. It reminded me of the chorus to “Maybe It’s Ok” sung by We Are Messengers:

“Maybe it’s okay if I’m not okay

‘Cause the One who holds the world is holding onto me

Maybe it’s alright if I’m not alright

‘Cause the One who holds the stars is holding my whole life”

Right now we’re needing to live within a very small bubble. It’s easy to get stuck – in self-pity or self-criticism – and get caught up in negative thoughts. We’ve lost reliable fellowship and consistent worship and prayer habits, so it’s easy to lose touch with the truth. The Lord’s Prayer reminds that God our good Father is in control, hears us when we pray, and will take care of all our needs. His unconditional love, grace and salvation means that no virus or personal failure has the final say about who we are in Him or where we are headed. Nothing can shake us or take us from His hands.

We belong to Him. Because He looks on us with grace and love, we should grant ourselves the same grace and love if we’re handling these strange times imperfectly. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)) If it’s difficult to care for yourself, reach out to a believing friend, a pastor, or other church leader. Let someone help you regain your perspective. We were meant for life in community and lacking that gets hard. And if your ride on the “Coronacoaster” is only heading downhill, look into the counseling resources available at Jubilee or elsewhere. The information is on our website. Know that God never leads people to fall prey to despair. The accuser sends despairing thoughts, while our God sends hope, healing and rescue.

You are seen; you are loved; be well in Christ Jesus our Savior.