Editor’s note: We confront a public health challenge unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. Yet we believe there is beauty even in times of trial. Beginning today and each weekday hereafter, for however long, CT will publish a meditation from our president and CEO. We will pair it with a work of art or music to inspire and bring beauty through the darkness of this season.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
Day 1. 211,853 confirmed cases and 8,724 deaths.
Onward it comes. The world slows to a still. We hold our breath. We listen. We watch. And the affliction stretches swiftly across the land like a darkening tide.
We feel, again, the long fingers of fear scratching at our lungs. Fear of loss. Fear of death. Fear of the chaos held at the gate.
We are lost in a trackless forest of information. We grasp for the apple of knowledge in the hope it will bring us peace, and yet fear lies coiled liked a worm within the apple. We consume the apple; the worm consumes us. The food we hoped would satisfy only makes our hunger more painful. No amount of knowledge will take our fear away.
To be human is to stand suspended over a chasm. To be human is to be vulnerable.
But when have we ever not been vulnerable? We have never been more than one week, one day, or even one moment away from losing the things we love in this world.
O Lord, we have always been in your hands. At your mercy. Why should that frighten us now?
The shadow of death is an old enemy and a wise friend. Memento mori, it whispers. Remember your days are numbered. Remember your days have always been numbered since before the first day dawned. Remember each day is a gift. And remember you have never been anything other than wholly and frightfully and wonderfully dependent on your God.
Your rod and your staff are our only comfort. We are not lions on the high rock. We are sheep in the dark valley. We follow as sheep wherever you lead us. We pray for the shadows of night to pass and a new day to dawn. We pray for green pastures and still waters. We pray knowing you go before us and knowing you are already there. You walk with us even where the shadows are deep, and your voice calls each of us by name.
You are our shepherd in the darkness. You lead us to light and life.
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