I woke up early this morning, earlier than normal. I suppose yesterday’s events were the reason. Yesterday morning, I learned my wife and I owe a lot of money to the IRS next month that was totally unexpected. Last night, it was announced that all universities in the North Carolina system will extend their Spring Breaks another week and then transition to online instruction due to the widening impact of the novel coronavirus. So I woke up thinking about two separate questions: How are we going to pay our tax debt? And how does one do campus ministry with no students on campus?
After making my usual morning cup of coffee, I walked outside and looked up. The sky was clear, the moon shining bright with Venus close by. My upward gaze brought to mind the verse, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1) And then another verse followed, the words of Jeremiah: “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (32:17)
It is so easy in this world of screens never to look up. We become fixated on what is being emitted from them. And what is coming from them now is news of disruption and chaos—the plunging stock markets taking retirement savings with them; a bustling economy likely to slow down exponentially in the coming months, threatening many with job layoffs; long-planned vacations having to be changed or cancelled; longed-for events being postponed, cancelled, or changed dramatically (a NCAA Tournament without fans!); and an educational system having to adjust significantly to the virus pandemic.
Such news can overwhelm us, causing sleepless nights and anxious days. But if we are willing to turn our gaze from the screens, we just might experience something quite different. If we look up, we might just see the handiwork of God. Not only the heavens as I did this morning, but also the trees, the birds, and the human beings that are the crown jewel of his creation. In our purview will be the evidence that nothing is too difficult for him. No situation, whether personal, national, or global, is beyond his control.
Yet, in a moment of crisis or uncertainty, how easy it is for us to forget that. We get carried along by the currents of doubt and fear, the same ones in which the world swims, just as I did for a bit this morning. Until I looked up and the handiwork of God declared, “Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Be at peace.”
And, so I am as I sit typing these thoughts, glancing up occasionally to look at the brightening horizon: the promise of hope, new mercies, and a reminder that the Lord of the Universe is always in control.
© Jim Musser 2020 All Scripture references are from the New International Version.