In a global season of loss, fear, and uncertainty with COVID-19, God is inviting us into a deeper trust in him. Use this season of social distancing and quarantines as an opportunity to draw closer to the heart of God. You are not forgotten. You are not abandoned. God is ever-present, even in the midst of all your struggles and doubts. May you hold onto a heart of gratitude as you experience God today.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
Nothing Else | Cody Carnes
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I never knew how many companies had my email address until I was bombarded by a response from every CEO to COVID-19.
The world as a whole has slowed to a crawl, yet we are more indundaded than ever with its attempts to grab our attention. From the news alerts, social media posts, and noise within my own household, I’m finding it more challenging than ever to keep my attention on God.
This battle for humanity’s attention has been fought since the beginning. We can read of the serpent’s attempts to turn Adam and Eve’s gaze to the fruit of the tree in Genesis. We see the Israelites continually forget about God’s provision and faithfulness in the wilderness as they worry about their changing circumstances. We even find Jesus dealing with the constant demand for his attention in Mark 1:35-37:
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’”
Even before the age of cell phones and 24/7 news, the attention of Jesus was in high demand. People came from all of the surrounding regions looking for wisdom and healing. Yet we find that Jesus did not let the world’s demand for his attention steal what he needed most, a loving relationship with his Father. If Jesus himself needed to guard that relationship in the midst of the demand for his time and attention, how much more do we?
The world wants your attention in order to get something FROM you. God wants your attention in order to give something TO you.
When we turn our attention to the world around us, we find ourselves slowly drained of our energy and strength. When we turn our attention to our Father and rest in his presence, we are refreshed, renewed, refocused. Is it possible that in this season of COVID-19, what we deeply need is the refreshment and renewal that only comes from time in the presence of God?
“Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
When I think of the need to renew my strength, I typically look toward the weekend, or even better, a vacation. Yet God’s invitation into strength is not something that requires a break from life, neither does it come with a list of conditions or prerequisites that have to be met in order to qualify. We are simply asked to “wait for the Lord,” or to put our hope, our trust, in him.
You and I already have been given the most beautiful gift imaginable – the attention of your loving Father. His gaze has not left you, and even now he is present where you are, and eager to meet with you. As you take time now to give him your attention, listen intently to what he has to say to you. Ask him to help you see your worries from his perspective. Let him open your eyes to the truth of his goodness and love.
1. Take a moment to find a quiet place, and turn your attention towards your loving Father. Sit in stillness and quiet for a few moments.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
2. Meditate on your need to experience God’s strength and renewal. Share what feels most heavy on your heart and mind right now.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
3. Confess the things that have taken your attention away from God. Allow God’s forgiveness, love and peace to comfort you as you draw closer to him.
The reality is the fight for your attention will continue throughout the day today, but there is good news in that God’s grace abounds even in the midst of our struggles, distractions and failures. How will you be intentional in turning your attention back to him throughout the coming days? Can you schedule time for him on your calendar? Can you get up a little earlier like Jesus modeled in order to spend quiet time with the Father? Can you go for a walk during the day and spend time with him? Receive God’s strength this week as you continue to give him your attention.