May 21, 2022

Psalm 46:10 is the perfect Bible verse for the world at this time

(Photo: Unsplash / Jeremy Bishop)

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Raise a hand to all those who have reached the point of “overwhelmed”? You also? Welcome to the club!
Most of the world seems to have moved online, making it an even noisier place than before (virtually speaking).

We have people giving ideas on what to do and many offering free stuff to watch. There are loads and loads of things to do with your kids, and a lot of political commentary, a lot of which is unnecessary and certainly doesn’t help the digital overload.

And for the first time since the inception of the inter-web, we have a plethora of church activities online / live / recorded.

I’ve heard from people who are now so overloaded with information that they don’t know what to do.

When I started my training as a child nurse, I was told not to give children too many choices. In the stressful environment of the hospital, too many choices could add to the stress. I saw the results when well-meaning parents brought bags full of things to do for a child and as a result their children went into meltdown mode. They didn’t need the toys. They needed a hug and to know that they were loved.

This is what I see now, and not just in children. Everyone is scared and stressed, and at the same time they are bombarded with too much “stuff” online, and that doesn’t help.

Against this noisy backdrop, “Rest and know that I am God” is a useful verse at this time.

It does not mean to be physically still. Some say its literal translation is “shut up” and know. I think about it more like, just stop what you’re doing for a moment, stop your activity and your noise – and remember: I am God.

I too was tempted to go too far and come up with stuff to help families, but seeing how many there were already, I quit. Yes, I have the gifts to do something, but now is not the time. Maybe later, when families have worked out the plethora of what’s already available, I’ll do something online. But for now, I’m only pointing out the most appropriate thing for every family, every couple, every single person, because everyone will need different things.

And it’s important to tell families: you don’t have to do everything. It is NOT home schooling. It’s about finding a rhythm and a routine that works for your family. Like those families I have met while breastfeeding, your children just need to be held, physically or metaphorically, and to know that they are loved. They need to know that there is nothing wrong with worrying and being afraid – admitting your own fear and molding a godly path within that fear.

And those of us who don’t have children at home, I also give you permission to quit. Keep calm. Wait and think.
In the midst of this chaos, find your level. I am writing this looking at my garden and watching the birds – for them the world is normal.

If you’re feeling guilty that your department doesn’t have an online presence, don’t worry. Be there for one. The only person, the only family, the only neighbor. It is still the ministry. It’s invisible, but it’s still precious.

If you feel guilty that you can’t help everyone, don’t. This overwhelmed state will lead to being unable to do anything for anyone. Stop, shut up and pray. It is so easy to be overcome with grief for so many struggling people right now, so think about it: is there one thing where you can make a difference? Choose and stick to this thing and do it right.

Pray for other situations, but recognize that you cannot do everything. There will be others who will choose a different “one thing”. That one thing might just be to look after your family so that the resources can go to those who have no family.

If you are one of the group that needs to self-isolate for 12 weeks (like me), maybe find one of these apps that lets you design a postcard and write it, then the app prints it and publish it for you. There are many who cannot connect online and who have a valuable postcard that they can keep and view.

Finally, regarding the amount of spiritual content online, you don’t have to log into it all. If you have a regular church, connect with the things they do online, but choose what is useful to you. Pick things that immobilize you, reset you, and build you up.

If your church doesn’t have the resources to do this, find another church online that you can align yourself with and stick with. There are many that have been around longer than the virus exists – they know what they are doing. Building relationships in one place will be more valuable than jumping into virtual fraternity.

Personally, I stick with what my church family does and tune into Malcolm Duncan’s live Facebook prayers in the evenings.

You have permission to stop, recalibrate, and reflect. Even if you are a faithless person, the phrase “rest”, stop and take time, is good for your sanity and that of your family. But there is also immense comfort in knowing that we can be still and know that God is God.

In the absence of physical hugs, may you be aware of a virtual hug from God.

Kay Morgan-Gurr is president of Children Matter and co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, which is part of the Evangelical Alliance Council. For more information, and on Twitter @kaymorgan_gurr

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