Devotional – Monday, March 23, 2020

This voluntary exile is so different from the post-hurricane, no-electricity isolation we are accustomed to. For instance, after Katrina, I remember being blissfully ignorant about the havoc in New Orleans until we went out to dinner at a restaurant that had electricity and thus a TV. We could hardly believe the misery and desolation. Now, I am trying to disregard the gloom and doom news feeds on television, newspapers and computers. I have a personal unsupported theory that too much bad karma makes you sick in the head.

I am not as successful ignoring emails that persistently pop up on my phone and computer. I respond to that inbox ding like Pavlov’s dog, hoping to get a treat of good news from friends, family or church. Sadly, not all of my emails have been friendly or good news. Sure, I am still getting the usual ads for Filters Fast and Southwest Airlines and exotic locations I will never visit. But I am also getting notices of postponements and cancellations, reductions in services and limitations of hours, not to mention those colorful graphs that show increasing numbers of positive diagnoses without a hint of a peak.
  
Now, here’s the good news — In the last couple of days I have noticed a subtle change, faint but definitely perceptible. It started when the restaurants closed for inside dining and switched to carry out or delivery only. Their emails are noticeably more upbeat, presenting their take-out menus with pride. Some food services are collaborating to offer broader options. All are expressing commitment to their customers and their employees for the long haul.

Some of my favorite businesses have sent reassuring messages about the steps they are taking to contain the virus. The pest control guy says he is still around to exterminate those other kinds of bugs. Cox Cable techs are still available on their irritating schedules. UPS is delivering packages with their usual vigor. And thank goodness for the hard-working trash and recycling people.  

Here’s more good news — school children are still getting their lunches. There will be no water or electricity cut offs and foreclosures and evictions are in abeyance. State and federal tax deadlines are being postponed and a financial assistance plan is in the works. Is this enough to sustain the vulnerable, the hungry, the homeless? Honestly, I don’t know. These are just pin pricks of light in a dark unknown. But I do know we are God’s people. God is not going to let us down. God has got this, and he has got us, each one of us, held tightly in his loving arms.

Psalm 146 says:
Shout praises to the Lord!
With all that I am,
I will shout his praises.
I will sing and praise
The Lord God
For as long as I live.                                        
God made heaven and earth;
He created the sea
And everything else.
God always keeps his word.
***
Amen.
Offered by Mary Thompson

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