I have spent much of my time in this last week walking through my work neighborhood, – in gardens, corridors, public spaces, and lounges – looking for people to meet and greet, to chat with, give comfort and encouragement to, even just to wave a hello. My dog Bella, a therapy dog, is almost as good as a baby at getting someone to smile – especially when she leans in and gives herself up to a good little pat and a tickle behind the ears. However this week, neither one of us has had many opportunities to connect, for people are anxious. In the past week, as updates have come in – sometimes hourly – on the coronavirus and how to handle it, people have become confused and scared, and unsure of who, what, how to trust. It seems that at the very moment when we need each other, we are separated by fears and anxious thoughts.
I think the Apostle Paul got this. I mean, look at his life – many trying to kill him, in prison, at the mercy of strangers, walking into the unknown. So when I listen to his words today, I begin to hear not a command but a way. In his experience, he had found something that worked for him against anxiety, against fear, and against the isolation of being alone.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayerand petition, withthanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Are you anxious? Are you afraid? Are you not sure what to do, who to trust, what will happen? These are exactly the situations that Paul is talking about when he tells us that there is a way. God is with us. God walks the corridors, public spaces, private recesses of our heart, into the depths of our questions and fears- ready to offer us the spirit of comfort, peace and hope. We are not alone.
So pray – with petition and thanksgiving. Talk to God and offer the present of your requests to the one who Loves, who is the Saviour of this world, who can give us Peace that is far greater than the world’s understanding; a peace that comes in the midst.
What are your anxieties, what are your prayers, what are your thanksgivings? Are there any you want to share here so that others can stand with you and present them to God along with you?
We are in this together. I am grateful for you. The Lord bless and keep you.
Mary Dickau offers Spiritual and Community Care for a community of more than 350 Older Adult residents at Beulah Gardens.
Mary is an elder at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, and her other job is facilitating an urban retreat called Stillpointe, where she hosts weekly rhythms of prayer and meets with people for Spiritual Direction and Healing Prayer. She is passionate about looking for the love and grace of God found within our shared stories and journey of life.
Mary's family includes three adult sons, two daughters-in-law, a therapy dog named Bella and whoever walks in their door. Mary is a founding member of CHAT.