Encouragement to prioritize prayer through this time of social isolation

When you can’t
move forward,
it’s time
to dig deep,
to find the Source
of awe
and patience inside.

I pray the Spirit of God
bubbles up like a fountain
from deep within you
and pours out
a river of Light,
of Love
of Life
into the cracks of a world
that is parched…

river of life

Like everyone else on planet earth, I am weathering the storm of a global pandemic for the first time. Even as someone who is fortunate to be living in the eye of this storm in relative safety from exposure to the virus, these circumstances are unique and overwhelming to say the least.

Spiritually though, I am grateful to be able to draw upon previous experiences of social isolation and concern for loved ones in grave circumstances.

Years ago after the mountaintop experience of growing closer to God through the miraculous healing of our second son, we moved to a new new town full of joy, sure that’s where we were called to go.

Then, due to a ridiculously wicked winter with feet of snow on the ground from October through February and two rambunctious little ones to manage without any kind of support system, we found ourselves socially isolated.

We were strong in faith but lacking in faith community. I was seeking and not finding God and people to share this leg of my journey with – I was overwhelmed in the darkness of loneliness.

After what I’d experienced in the miracle, I could never abandon my faith, but I couldn’t feel God’s Spirit with me anymore.

Stripped of external consolation, I was challenged to learn to love God for His own sake, not for what I got from him. I am so grateful I had the grace to persist in faith through that time.

Globally, I think that’s what happening now.

We are being given an opportunity to learn to love God for God’s sake on a deeper level than ever before. It doesn’t feel good. It’s scary, lonely, off-kilter, burdensome, but it’s beautiful because God is beautiful, and He ALWAYS gives us the strength we need to persevere through hard times and ALWAYS works things for our good in the end.

If we persevere in faith through this challenging time we are all collectively going through, I believe we will look back and see all the miracles of love God is working in and through us right now.  They just happen to be too beautiful for us to perceive – yet.

In this current pandemic, I find myself anchoring into that deep wellspring of faith, which I carved out through persistence in  prayer through this and other previous experiences of isolation and deep concern for loved ones, who I was powerless to protect. I find myself strengthened and fortified by that deep spiritual connection, which I was blessed to forge through these fires.

I also find myself working to dig an even deeper wellspring of hope through prayer as I process this new threat to the safety of my loved ones, community and world. Though this is a true battle (as prayer always is), I feel confident God will bless all who persevere in faith with an ever-more unshakable depths of connection to His infinite wellspring of  love, light and promise of eternal connection through this. I can’t wait to see all the good that comes out of this period of trial because I truly believe it’s always darkest before the dawn.

I am grateful for the ability to draw upon these previous experiences and realize God has always and will always prove to be faithful in His promises.

I am also grateful to realize that ultimately, the goal of our faith isn’t to feel comfortable all the time – the goal if faith is to grow in love of God and to glorify His name by steadfastly abiding in Him. Challenging circumstances provide outstanding opportunities for this!

I am also grateful for the story of Jesus’ own time of extreme social isolation, when He was tested in the wilderness and proved a victorious and trustworthy Lord for us all.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”

_and then angels came and attended him_(1)

How is your faith holding up through this time of social isolation? How does focusing on what Jesus went through in the wilderness help put your own current “wilderness” experience in perspective? How are you being tempted right now to doubt God’s goodness through this trial? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my thoughts and prayers and provide encouragement to keep praying through this storm.

Lord thank you for persisting in faith through Your time of social isolation in the wilderness without food for 40 days. Thank you for resisting every temptation through that trying time. Thank you for being an infinitely powerful God, someone, who we can depend on for support through our own “wilderness” times like right now, as we deal with the pandemic of COVID-19. Give us the strength to cling to You and Your promises through this, our own time of trial. Help us to let go of our earthly attachments and learn to love You above all things. Give us the grace to praise You even when we can’t see or feel Your presence with us. Help us resist temptations to settle for anything less than Your great calling for our lives, even when it requires us to do hard things. Bless us with the great privilege of flowing Your healing graces into this broken world that is starving for Your love now more than ever. In Jesus name, we pray.


written by Nicky Gant for http://www.uniteinprayer.org 4/4/2020

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