This Pandemic: A Call to Prayer

Anyone can read this post,

but specifically,

I am speaking to readers who consider themselves God’s people;

these words are specifically for you, and me.

Thursday, May 7th,

is the scheduled National Day of Prayer for 2020.

But I am writing today to say, forget it!

Globally, we are in a battle too big for us; this Pandemic, Covid19, is ravaging the human race in ways we have never seen before; it feels surreal – a nightmarish unfolding of horribleness.  Globally, is it possible that God is trying to get the attention of His people?  Could it be, for far too long, God’s people have been complacent? Too comfortable? Forgetting God along the way?

A typical passage clothing the National Day of Prayer is this:

“...If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

It is us; you and me, God’s people, He is speaking to. I wonder, have I humbled myself, do I live like I know who I am and who God is, really? I question, do I seek Him first everyday? Do I seek God earnestly, or just when I want something? Am I sensitive to the Holy Spirit to show me my wicked ways? Am I willing to turn from my wicked ways? I blush and am silenced, even as I think to answer those questions for myself.

Interesting, the verse that precedes this one:

This is God speaking to Solomon, the wisest man ever… “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,…” (2 Chronicles 7:13)

Whaaat? Did I just read that? “or send a plague among my people”… a pandemic perhaps? maybe? Again, as I said yesterday, this God I speak of is a sovereign God who does what He wants, when He wants, and allows what He allows. Why? Because He IS and has a plan. Somehow it all makes sense to Him. It is my experience, almost all the time, I am unable to understand, especially when it involves pain and suffering.

I write to urge and rebuke myself, first.

I am weeping for my Nation and I say:

forget waiting for the May 7th scheduled call to prayer. We need to have a National Day of prayer NOW; today, tomorrow, and for all the days we are alive. Could it be, this pandemic is our call to prayer, right this very day? Could it be, God is waiting to hear from His people, globally?

No stickers or banners or balloons or PA systems needed; just knees to the floor, heads down, wherever you are – on your bed, in you kitchen, in your car… and pray… how? As God Himself told Solomon: humbly, seeking Him and seeking insight to our own wicked ways, turning away from our wicked ways, and asking forgiveness,  THEN….

then, He will hear our prayers, forgive, and heal.

I believe it begins now, with us, who call ourselves God’s people. My pastor preached a sermon recently stating, “God’s people need God’s people.” We need each other to remind each other of the faithfulness and Truth of God & His Word, especially in these scary times. My Pastor also said, “… and the world needs God’s people.” The world needs God’s people to share the HOPE we are given in Jesus Christ.

And I will add today, that I believe, the world needs God’s people to pray in such a way that God hears, forgives, and heals.

To Him, be the glory, forever and ever.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a Recovering Addict Mourns

It is morning, but it is dark.
Dark in the sense that everything is just not how it is supposed to be.
Dark, so dark, that I strain to see sense, but there is no sense to see.
This dark weighs like a thousand pound cloud that thunders, waiting to release the torrential rain.
How did it come to this?

Dutifully going through the motions, I slip on my suit coat.
Black. Black as dark as black can be. I feel wound & bound as I enter this day.
Just five months ago he came to the house. I recognized his hesitancy and his lack of admission right away because I had been there myself.
Not that I know it all or have the answers and can say I am free, because, in reality, we are never really free – never free enough to not be concerned.

We all walk a tenuous, tightrope of recovery.

The light begins as a pinhole stream, as hope is recognized and love is allowed in. Gaining steadiness in my walk I can say the brightness of the light grows with each day that I keep my back turned away from the lures that promise things that are not true.

Emotions are hard.
They trigger desires and thoughts to run and hide in the dark spaces and places.

Standing tall I breathe big and my hand slips into my suit coat pocket and feels a single, soft tissue. This suit was borrowed by him who came to the house five months ago. He wore it to his friends funeral. Yes… this was his tissue with his tears dried on it from just a few weeks ago. And now, here I stand, wearing the same suit, needing a tissue of my own. I pull it out and let the soft crumbled mass sit cradled in my hand like a treasure; the treasure of a friendship now lost.

Death is so very dark.
Why couldn’t I have helped him better to see the light more clearly?
Emotions; damn emotions!
Begging, they seductively whisper to me…
the darkness that thunders with the weight of rain, beckons.
That tenuous, tightrope is before me. Can I still walk it?

I am paralyzed in the moment.

Without any more hesitation, I carefully place the crumpled tissue back into my pocket. And my heart weeps a message: Dear friend, I will miss you. I am sorry I couldn’t change your mind.

And so, I step out and balance my footing…
Sober. Yes, sober, I decide on it.
And I leave the dark rumble behind me.

***

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My son was just barely five months clean in recovery when one of his good friends died of an overdose via a medicine laced with fentanyl. He was crushed. He wept and stuffed that crumpled tissue into his suit coat pocket.

Just about six weeks later, it was my son who died of an overdose involving fentanyl.

I cannot help but think about the impact that drug related deaths have on those who are in recovery; I imagine it frays the end of the tightrope.

Emotions are hard. Death by drugs is a slap of reality across the face that forces a hard look at mortality and threatens the recovering addicts ability to keep walking that tenuous tight rope.

As my son’s friends in recovery came to his memorial service, they wept and were crushed too.  My heart feared for each one of them.

For real, just weeks later, I watched these same friends weep over another friend who died of an overdose; It was horribly overwhelming. What bold resolve it takes to keep on going forward in recovery when friends are dying all around them.

How can we help?  We can help by being purposeful in our love and support for those  who struggle every day to keep sober and clean. Acknowledge their strength and resiliency to keep going when fear rises up and they doubt their next day will be successful. Keep reaching out and hoping and be there when they need you.

Most of all, pray.