I have been bolstered by Scripture, of course, but the best tactic has come from my close friend and colleague Tom Webster. More than anyone I know, Tom continually asks himself, “How/Where am I seeing God’s presence?” He sees God’s loving presence in everyday life more than anyone I know.
In the last two days, Tom wrote on Facebook, “I saw God today in our son who dropped off food and medical supplies for us,” and “Today I saw God in our grandson with whom we had a video call. I love my family and can’t wait to see them in person.” When we co-directed youth church camps, Tom would almost always ask the teens that question, “Did you see God today?” …and that always led to meaningful sharing around the nightly campfire.
Another helpful way I was encouraged throughout the week was the practice of counting my blessings. We have a roof above our heads, we have food on the table, we see the sun every morning, and the moon every evening. These little things are what really matters in life. And… I suspect we will look back at these days, and they will forever remind us to never take little things for granted again. (Maybe you saw that, also.)
However, in the midst of all the cancellations, there are aspects of life that have not…and cannot…. be cancelled:
Kindness has not been cancelled.
Love has not been cancelled.
Prayer has not been cancelled.
Reading has not been cancelled.
Conversations have not been cancelled.
Music has not been cancelled.
Worship, as a way of life, has not been cancelled.
Hope has not been cancelled.
Similarly, the Apostle Paul tells us, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Perhaps in these anxious times, the best thing we can do is count our blessings. In 1897, Johnson Oatman wrote a lively song with timely advice for us:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your many blessings, see what God has done.