I read the story of Hezekiah this morning. It’s in 2nd Chronicles if you want to read the whole thing. The short version is King Hezekiah wanted to have his people celebrate the Passover. According to the rules set out in the law this was quite the undertaking. Big gathering. Lots of rules. And if they broke the rules there could be great consequences. (Sound familiar)?
So the big day comes and a bunch of people got it wrong.
Should they have purified themselves? Yes. Was it important? Yes.
But I love how the king responds.
He prays for a pardon. He’s not minimizing the risk. He’s not recommending people ignore the rule. He’s asking God to consider their intent. Their hearts.
Listen. I confirm we need to be careful in these days. I’m taking seriously my response and advocating that others do as well. In no way am I recommending we ignore the recommendations of our heath professionals or disregard the governmental guidelines. Absolutely.
I’ve been thinking about my response to people around me in these days if Covid. Do I inspect their every action and judge how closely their lives are standing up to my standard of behavior?
Are we as a society using shame more than respect? Are we assuming from a glance we know what is happening with someone else and running to tattle? Could we perhaps try asking a few questions first? Or perhaps throw some grace in the mix?
I can’t tell you what to do. And trying to keep track of your movements in life will only lead me to frustration and bitterness.
So I’m going to social distance my attitude. I’m going to pray. I’m going to focus on intent. I’m going to set my heart on God and leave the judgment to him.
I've thought about writing a post many times over the past couple of weeks. Like all of you - my world is a bit upside down. Lots of events cancelled, normal patterns disrupted, concern for family near and far. I have been filtering my thoughts which have ranged from ranting (plenty of that already available without me adding my frustration to the mix) to snarky meme level humor (way funnier people have covered this genre which I totally appreciate).
But today I have something to say which may be helpful.
I was sitting at home last night listening to my kiddos chatter in the other room. A serious negotiation was taking place between the teenager and the first-grader who live here. A few minutes later I heard the little one explain the situation to her dad.
Little one: so - I wanna play Uno.
Dad: And - is she going to play with you?
Little one: She says if Mom does, she will.
That was the entire conversation. To borrow a phrase from the 13 year old - I was shook.
If I play the game, my eldest will join in. The little one will be thrilled.
If I don't play the game, the eldest will have a great excuse to not and the little one will be bummed.
The outcome depended on what this mama choose.
Friends - this is the truth for all of us in this crazy time. If we lead by example and show kindness then our kids and our neighbors and our coworkers will see a way forward. If we panic and hoard and exchange cranky barbs about our particular schedule or restrictions of the day then our kids and our neighbors and our society will as well. If we express care and are vulnerable about our fears without subcoming to despair then our kids will grow the ability to endure.
If mom will, she will.
My parents are not in the country at the moment. We've spent the last couple of days working on finding and securing flights. They'll be home Saturday. I'd love your prayers for safe travels.
I asked my mom in the middle of it how she was doing.
She said "I'm good, its a beautiful day and I've switched from singing Happy Birthday while I wash my hands to saying The Lord's Prayer". She explained reciting the prayer got her a mental timer for the 20 seconds for a thorough wash and gave her a constant reminder of where her help comes from. She didn't complain about the cruise line, the frustration or her fears. She gave thanks and pointed to God. And so it enabled me to do the same.
If mom will, I will.
At the end of this mess I want my kids to know that when I say I believe in God and in His care and provision that it wasn't just words. I want them to see that my faith matched my actions. I want them to hear me express my pain or anxiety and then choose in that moment to focus on hope and joy and gratitude. As Jon Acuff says 'fear is a feeling, afraid is a choice. Sometimes I have to choose hope 1000 times a day'. But I'm going to keep choosing hope.
What about you?
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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