I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content.
Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope.
Hope now; hope always!
I must admit today that my heart is not quiet. My soul is not baby content. Hope is like a butterfly - so close, almost in my hand, fluttering just out of reach.
Changes are happening too quickly. The news is uniformly discouraging. We seem to be back where we started almost four months ago, with new cases surging in much of the nation. I see colleagues on social media advocating for worship as usual - no masks, lots of singing, no distancing requirements - even though the science indicates strongly that these things are dangerous.
So I turned to a recently purchased book of prayers that I have found helpful on other days, Ash and Starlight: prayers for the chaos and grace of daily life, by Adriana Braithwaite Lehn. I found a prayer titled “When I need fresh faithfulness while I wait.” It begins, “Strong and stable God.”
Stability. That’s what is missing. When everything is in flux and turmoil and seems unstable, it is hard to be content. Contentment is a word that indicates comfort with the situation I am in, and I find it very hard to be comfortable in the current climate. It is hard to be content when anger permeates social discourse. I mean, who can be content and angry at the same time?
I am reminded to look to the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...” Lord knows I cannot change anything that is going on around me. I cannot change my situation, my place in the world, the course of the virus, other peoples’ behavior and attitude. I can only change how I respond to all of those things. It does me no good to be angry at how other people are behaving. All I can do is what I believe to be the right thing, the more loving thing, and pray for the wellbeing of those with whom I disagree. That prayer for the wellbeing of other people, is what allows my heart to quiet, to become content with my situation, to hope while I wait for whatever comes next.
Strong and stable God, you are my rock, in whom I take refuge. May the words of the psalm become my reality. May I keep my feet upon your holy ground, that I might know peace of heart, contentment in my situation, and hope while I wait. Amen.