The Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes are blooming again in Texas! What a pleasantly surprising contrast to the mood of our nation. After many weeks of rain, we were greeted by a gorgeous red, orange and blue sunrise filtering through the clouds. It literally stopped me in the tracks on my long walk this morning. I had passed through deserted shopping centers, reading closure notices posted in windows, the streets were quiet, and I pondered the question of what, if anything, has not changed over these last few weeks.
We all know that uncertainty causes fear. We like routines and predictability. We take comfort and security in familiarity. How are we to act as we shelter in place, waiting and waiting, hoping for news that hints at a return to, or even a trend toward, “normal”? Where do we go for answers? My dad was 6 years old on VE Day. Though he remembers growing up with Depression-era parents, intense frugality and ration books during the war, all the decision-makers of that period are long gone. Who do we go to for advice and guidance when we are in unprecedented (for our generation) times?
My mind races to the heroic stories of personal perseverance – from the Civil War, the World Wars, POWs in the Hanoi Hilton, countless others – these men and women endured years of extreme uncertainty and personal risk. They saw almost everything they held onto and trusted stripped away. Yet they clung to life and endured, relying on their faith in God and strength in friendships (even when taps on the prison walls were their only communication). Sturdy people, unshakeable!
On my walk this morning I stepped over a stamp in the concrete – Klein Bros. 1922. Still in perfectly good shape, this sidewalk was poured the year before Davis-Hawn Lumber Co. began, almost a century ago. Ah, something solid, something that has lasted and not changed. A crisis like this has us all reaching for something solid and unchanging. All our normal assumptions about life, security and health are under assault. Our expectations, built upon decades of prosperity and relative ease, have been shattered in mere weeks. Are we really that fragile? Is our worth, security and patience measured in terms of the days cash flow we have left in our businesses?
Those roadside flowers and the sunrise this morning were beautiful reminders to me that we will, by God’s grace, get through this. A new day is coming and renewal and re-birth like Spring will come again! I pray for patience, endurance, and courage like our great forebears exhibited, who all recognized and faced incredible uncertainty and fragility of life. Perhaps we have always faced the same, but just fooled ourselves somehow, until now? May you find your refuge and fortress.
Grace & Peace,
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a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3