This time last summer, almost to the day we were having a family reunion, gathering in a park and enjoying the first time we’d been totally together in years. I had no idea a pandemic was coming.
I’m in Idaho this week and am currently sitting under a huge pine tree watching a gaggle of kids slip n’ slide. Finally feeling a little normal again.
Lessons from Numbers
And I’m pondering on Numbers, I have been for a few weeks now.
“And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died…
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said…pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” Number 21:6-8
Not once does it say that the Lord removes the serpents.
Is God not all powerful?
Can He not solve problems but only work around them?
Look and Live
Are miracles and answers to prayers only when it’s exactly what you prayed for?
And I love this thought from a friend, “do you think those who didn’t look were standing outside the tents of those who did and were ridiculing them?”
Or what about those who did? Were they angry and hurtful to those who didn’t look?
And what about now? What is it we prayed and fasted for?
“that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.”
LAST SUNDAY I HAD AN IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE.
Going to church feels different.
I sat there next to my family but totally alone. No one else on our bench or in the benches to the side, in front or behind us.
Social distancing achieves isolation even when others are present.
I don’t like how it feels.
The hymns were quieter.
The little boy touched, moved, and pulled down his mask 100 times
I felt like Darth Vader, all heavy breathing, “Luke I am your father.”
To Mask or Not to Mask
Our younger daughter has started to hate the mask. She feels claustrophobic after a while and gets all antsy and upset.
I’m not sure if masks will do anything.
Church at home has become a sweet experience and we’ve had more impactful meetings and even have left church once feeling like we now needed our own meeting because we felt lacking.
But then I wonder…
Lessons from the Children of Israel
I wonder what the children of Israel felt when Moses said, “I’m gonna get a stick in this desert, just a lousy stick and I’m going to put a snake on it. Yup, something that can symbolize death to some. And you look at it and BAM!! Healed.
The scriptures never once say, and using their perfect faith they looked, and prayed for the miracle and were healed.
I wonder how many thought, this is crazy! It’s not going to do anything!! It’s a stick! I get miracles can happen but this is a bit nuts.
And so some chose not to look and they were lost.
And others had great faith and just knew it would be granted.
Obedience Brings Blessings
And then there was the third group. The ones that had faith enough to say, I don’t know if it will work, but I love God, I love my leader, and I will be obedient because I know obedience itself brings blessings.
Some just looked to be obedient.
And even that was enough for a loving God, and they were healed.
But what about how empty I felt at church?
Mom’s Words Flooded Into Me
I sat feeling uncomfortable and a lack of the Spirit I had expected until I remembered my mom’s words months earlier,
“We must learn to recognize how we feel the Spirit at different times, ohhh when I’m depressed the Spirit feels like this, when I’m tired I feel it like this.” And so on. Because God never leaves us, our mortal selves just confuse us, tired can put a muffled blanket on so we need to learn how to still recognize His love in those moments.
So I sat there and thought, ok, if this becomes the new norm, how can I help my kids love the new way and feel the Spirit.
And then I watched as the man spoke, I let myself just feel and you know what word I felt?
It felt FAMILIAR.
And so I sat, remembering and being grateful that all these years we’ve gathered and worshiped together.
And then there it was.
That sweet feeling of “this is good” came over me and I knew, we will get back to feeling unified and uplifted.
Called to Serve
And then the speaker went and sat down at the piano.
He said, “’Called to Serve‘ has always been this loud marching song, one that made me think we should go out and preach the gospel and bring people to Christ with all our might.
But then on my mission I learned that true missionary work is gentle, it’s loving and it’s based on service. So I kept the words the same but composed new music.”
And then he played the most beautiful rendition of, “Called to Serve” I’ve ever heard. It was kind and quiet, moving and mindful. It was love.
My heart filled with that familiar spirit, the one that says, “God is real.”
Hearing Him in a New Way
Right now things might feel different. Change might be hard. Maybe you’re experiencing a lot of it, maybe you’re feeling alone and that God is silent.
I’ve wondered why it feels so quiet too.
But maybe we just need to tune in to a new frequency and Hear Him in a new way. One that’s gentle and loving, and based in service just as that song taught me.
If I hadn’t sat there with a desire to feel things I never would have had that experience
It’s going to take work, but we can Hear Him, even if it takes practicing and turning our faces upward until we do.