And after you pray “Help, Lord,” sometimes it may be hard to see the flowers for the weeds. Our good friend Laura Adams is joining us today. We pray her words will help our eyes open wide so we will see God when He shows up and shows off. Even now in this pandemic, Laura is seeing the goodness of God and encouraging us to do the same as she chimes in using the prayer prompt, God Always Shows Up, Pray that you see Him, from Kelly Odell Stanley’s book #Instaprayer, Prayers to Share.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the flowers for the weeds.
When my two sons were very small, they spent a great deal of time waiting on their sister. She danced on a competitive team, which meant the rest of us spent a lot of time taking her to and from practice. Her studios were often in downtown areas, with not much room for growing brothers to play while they waited. Still, if at all possible, we would find a spot at the back of the parking lot and they’d spend their waiting time playing in the nearby woods.
Very often, one of them would rush back to the car with a handful of what can only be described as blooming weeds and give me “flowers.” Their sweet little faces would beam up at me as they handed me their gift, and I’d try to slow the moment in my mind—because I knew it was a memory I should hold onto. In most cases, the flowers would die before I could even attempt to get them home and put them in water. But the image of my sons proudly hand-picking and delivering flowers are some of the most precious memories I have.
Life feels a little like those parking lots now. We’re waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. There’s not a whole lot we can do to distract ourselves with the time we have on our hands. And when we step outside, the world feels a little weedy.
Unless you look a little more closely.
Jesus was the master of that. Of taking a situation and seeing the opposite of what most of us would see in it. Of finding people that others had written off and using them for incredible things that still impact all of us to this day. Of taking what looked like weeds, and showing us the beautiful, and intricate, and carefully grown flower in the midst.
If only we’d take a moment from ourselves and see it.
Covid-19 has forced us to step back. To take time off. To be away from people. In many ways—if we take the virus itself out of the equation–it feels like we’re getting some of the things we say we’ve been wanting:
• To get away from people because they’re too hard to deal with these days
• To get a break from work so we can spend more time with our families
• To have a few moments to ourselves because we’re so overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that life has thrown our way
In recent months, the words overloaded, overwhelmed, overworked, and over it have come out of my mouth multiple times. But when I look at where I am today, considering the things I’ve been praying for in my life, I can see that God is actually in the midst of answering a whole lot of prayers.
Isaiah 65:24 NLT says:
I will answer them before they even call to me.
While they are still talking about their needs,I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
We’re getting a break, for the most part, from the overwhelming parts of our lives that were pushing us to the brink. Most of us have had a shift in our work schedules, allowing breathing room in varying degrees. We likely have plenty of time in our days to focus on our families, ourselves, and the people we are closest to in our lives.
Have we even noticed?
Sure, it may look different than we imagined. And yes, there are elements to it that are unknown and scary, and possibly more complicated than our lives before. But, it the grand scheme of things, God is right there. Going before us, beside us, and behind us as we navigate these waters.
Do we see Him?
Don’t miss what God is trying to show you during this time. Don’t miss the answered prayers. The hidden blessings. The space He’s allowing for you to reconnect with Him and others.
Instead, take a closer look at the gift. Take a long look at your life (let’s face it, you have the time to do so) and reconsider if the path you’re on is good for you, your family, your community, and your faith.
Before the pandemic:
• We were more connected to our phones than actual people around us
• We were more interested in someone else’s feed than the action going on in our own living rooms, just inches from our phones
• We made celebrities and sports stars our heroes rather than the everyday people who show up to serve us in ways we never notice
Post pandemic gift:
• Church attendance via online services has surpassed previous online and in-person attendance combined
• Even in their lack, people are giving more to the church than before the crash
• People are spending significant time with their loved ones, enjoying the simple things in life, and gaining a new appreciation for their relationships
• We’ve realized that everyday people serve us in monumental ways we haven’t taken the time to notice in the past
When things seem difficult and confusing, there is an opportunity to slow down and gain great clarity and focus. Praise God for it, friends. Then ask Him what He’s trying to show you during this time.
Pray with us: Father, we know that you are with us. You are working in and among us. Help us to see you clearly. We trust that you always show up. We do not want to miss the gift you are presenting us even in difficult times. Amen