Faith Stories: Spiritual PPE
I do not think anyone would disagree that the times we are living in right now are scary, frustrating, uncertain and, for many, very lonely.
Lonely is where I find myself and I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. In this writing, I pray this confession will remind me, and perhaps you as well, to continually rely on the Holy Spirit, who is our Advocate. I need this reminder during my struggle to keep a positive attitude, in my difficulty staying productive in whatever that may look like, finding a new or different purpose, connecting with others, trusting the solitude, and in times of dealing with the overwhelming quiet.
The battle that rages in me is very real. I began to realize that my attempts to overcome all these things could not be done through my strength alone. I found it was a losing battle. I have come to realize that my losses are in some ways self-inflicted due to my lack of preparedness, poor strategy, and a failure to rely on my personal protective equipment (PPE).
Here is my confession: I would be better prepared if I were to continually rely on the fact that I am never alone and never forsaken. Scripture is filled with so many passages that speak to this topic.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” Isaiah 41:10
A ton of bricks hit me when I realized I had absolutely no strategy for how to confront this new world of COVID-19. How was I to deal with the continual frustrations of staying at home, social distancing, the daily escalating death toll, and a pandemic that has become political? I was faced with not knowing if the end to all of this would ever come, and the BIG question of if my supply of toilet paper would last? Then I realized the strategy I needed was so simple I had simply been overlooking it. My head was full of ‘what ifs’, ‘now what’ and ‘the sky is falling’ that I had allowed these continual, negative thoughts to replace my active prayer time. Prayer is a simple act but it is also so very powerful. In prayer, my fear and anxiety are replaced with a sense of God’s peace and comfort. My strategy must be prayer that is both intentional and frequent.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
While I have been wearing a mask when grocery shopping, I had failed to utilize my spiritual Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Besides my mask, I have the full armor of God available to me – I just need to remember to put it on daily.
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers.” Ephesians 6:10-18.
I miss my St. John’s family so very much and I have come to realize (even more) how important you truly are to me. Until we can be together — really together — stay safe. I hold you in my prayers.