By Pastor Paula Lund Burchill
These are some scary and crazy times. New information keeps coming out about COVID-19. Costco ran out of toilet paper. Should we stay home and hunker down and ride this out? Or go about life and just be diligent about hand-washing and not touching our faces?
As I reflect on those questions, it makes me think of another crazy and scary time in my life–when I became a mom. And as I reflect on that time, and really on just parenting in general in scary and crazy times, I keep coming back to the one thing I could not parent without—prayer.
I remember being kind of shocked at the horrible things I could imagine happening to my children. Most of the time those things were not very likely to happen. Kids are more likely to be struck by lightning than they are to be kidnapped, for example. And yet, I sent them to the park alone, and imagined someone lurking behind every tree.
But I know in my mind that I don’t want to raise fearful kids. And I believe that they have to go out into the world to do things on their own. So I send them out. And then I get down on my knees and pray—God, protect my children.
It has become a mantra. I let my teenage son drive in the snow—God, protect my children. I send my daughter to a sleepover where I know there will be lots of drama—God, protect my children. I send my son on a plane by himself—God, protect my children.
And now, when there is a virus that we don’t know much about and that we seem not to know what to do about—God, protect us all.
God gave us prayer to help us learn more and more every day to trust in God. And the funny thing is that I know my children won’t always be protected. They have already been hurt and they will be hurt again. But still, I beg God to protect them and as I do, I find that God calms my heart with the knowledge that no matter what, God will be with them. And that is what is important. Because NOBODY gets through of life without getting hurt.
Whenever we go through scary times as a country or in a family or on our own, the worst thing is when we isolate ourselves. When you pray, you reach out with the belief in something bigger, opening yourself to the knowledge that no matter what, you will never be alone. When you pray, you are holding up those you love, and even your enemies, because prayer is what God gave us to build our trust in him.
In times like this I suppose there isn’t much else to do. Wash hands, don’t touch your face, sanitize. But most importantly, lean on God. Beg God to be with you and to protect your loved ones. Ask God to be with our medical workers and scientists and those on the front lines of caring. And know that no matter what happens, God will always be with us, through the darkest valleys and into the dawn of a new day.