New governor restrictions over the holiday of Thanksgiving in the USA meant we cancelled plans to see our kids and grandkids.
Every year we have converged in Boise for a family gathering. Our daughter Anna and her husband and two daughters traveled from Utah, our two daughters, Grace and Gabri, drove and Karen and I flew from Portland. We’d meet at Susanna and Collin’s home in Boise to hang with them and their three kids.
This past year Susanna and Collin had moved to larger place. We knew it would help to accommodate our crowd. In addition, this year, Grace’s boyfriend Justin was coming, so we were excited for him to meet the family and experience the joy of this time together.
That was the plan.
Then the governors of Idaho, Utah, and Oregon put bans on travel and restricted the size of even private gatherings to 10. This was a bummer. We thought perhaps we could get a hotel room for four people and trade-off who got to be in the house. But then, Collin’s workplace mandated all employees must follow the governor’s restriction or face being fired. Our family text was filled with ideas and expressions of sadness. In the end, the Oregon contingent offered to stay home to allow Susanna’s and Anna’s families to be together.
We understood the apparent need but we were so disappointed. The next morning, after the decision, Karen was in tears. I listened. I asked the question we have learned most powerful to assist another to share all the way through emotions. After listening and responding with some affirmation of how tough that thing was, I’d wait and then asked, “Is there anything else?” And so, listened again. We find to ask “Is there anything else?” is powerful to assist one another to truly process emotions all the way through.
During the time, an idea came to me. So far there were only 9 people gathering in Boise. Technically, one more could go. What if Karen was the 10th person? I knew during the tears was not the time for a suggestion.
After hearing of the last sadness, I eventually suggested for Karen to be the 10th person to fly over to Boise. “Could I really do that?” Wondering whether I or our other daughters would feel left out. I assured her she could. “We would all be supportive of you going,” I told her.
After a bit of conversation, convinced, Karen wrote Susanna and asked what she thought. There was no response until 9 pm. In the meantime, new quarantine recommendations had been placed by the governor of Idaho for anyone traveling from high incidence locations, hence, Oregon. We were not surprised when Susanna’s text came saying she thought it best if Karen didn’t come.
All this was tough for us and is tough for many, many people. While some people feel these restrictions are good to protect others. I’m not among them. To me, on top of the actual loss, there is a sense of robbery by governmental restrictions. These are made for our good, governors claim, to protect us from this disease. But I don’t believe this at all.
Every government of the world is in lockstep with COVID. Around the world governments are locking their countries down. Does anyone else find this odd and concerning? Or is it only me? Google “Rising Cases,” and you will find incredibly, cases are “rising” everywhere. Is this a created narrative? All you will find are the “number of cases,” and “number of deaths.” Nationally, our death rate is around 2% from the stats given. However, since death rate is burgeoned by the numbers of any death when COVID is present, that percentage is high.
Never does the mainline media say: “Here are ways to prevent getting COVID by strengthening your immune system. Nor do they say, here are ways to heal if you get it.” Why is this?
The only preventions according to media are: wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home, save lives. Is this it?
According to the mainline media, we are at the mercy of the virus. This is a lie. It creates fear, and fear does a strange thing in the human mind; it divides us from others and creates a false belief system. Fear splits people into groups. Is this the reason for creating this narrative? Back in March Jesus told me, “It is not about a virus.” I believed him then; I believe Him more now.
There are many preventatives and actions we can take if we get COVID other than “riding it out.” For example, Vitamin D (a hormone), Zinc and Vitamin C all are extremely helpful in strengthening the immune system and fighting COVID-19. For more complete data: Check out this resource.
All these stats and disappointments left me feeling really sad and mad. I get angry at the lies we are being told. Anger is empowering but overall not a helpful emotion for me. God has to continually remind me, your anger will not accomplish My desires. Behind the anger I felt helpless and a bit hopeless.
Then, I remembered God.
Online I came upon friends leading worship from their home for their small church community. They are down-to-earth, ordinary, beautiful people, who don’t sing great but whose hearts are bigger than the sky and ocean combined. They have such sincere faith. As they sang, and I joined them, God moved into my living room and I thought: Rocks. Look for Rocks.
The thought took me to an Old Testament story. Joshua, Israel’s newly inaugurated leader, was to lead God’s people into the promised land. To get there they needed to cross the Jordan River at flood stage, picture a wide, rushing, torrent way over its banks. Joshua commanded the priests to walk forward carrying the Ark of the Covenant and stand in the middle of the river. Imagine how might that command have struck the priests at first?
But when their feet touched the water — look how far their faith needed to go — the waters of the Jordan River STOPPED flowing and stacked up at the town of Adam. The priests then stood on dry ground (a second miracle) in the middle of the former river. The entire Israelite community, numbering into the millions, passed in front of the priests and the Ark. They also crossed over on dry ground.
What kind of impact might this event have had on the priests and all those present?
Seeing the waters stacked up, like a wall. Did any of those crossing wonder at the location of where the waters stopped? Why the town of Adam? What might God have been telling the people as they followed Joshua? Had something been backed up to Adam, or was this event foreshadowing a future time when another Joshua, Yeshua or Jesus would literally create a new beginning for all humanity becoming the second Adam? Was this what God was pronouncing?
There it was for all to see — a wall at Adam! And the dry ground under foot.
Joshua commanded one man from each of the twelve tribes to pick up a rock from the river bed and carry it up and out stacking them above where the waters would again flow. They did so. They stacked these rocks, Joshua told them, as a reminder.
“In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever”(Joshua 4:6-7).
These stones are to be a memorial… a reminder.
Where are my rocks for what God has done? I wondered.
- Rescue and healing from abuse.
- My first book written and edited.
- The evidences of God’s healing power as I have watched God heal the hearts of so many counseling clients over the years. God heals in response to prayer.
- The transformation of Karen’s life and her own extraordinary healing.
- My journals filled with words from God. God yet speaks.
- Joyous relationships with our children and grandchildren.
- My amazing transition from pastoral work to mediation since July 1.
- The rooted, peaceful Presence of God here in the moment.
Where are your Rocks?
From King David’s poetry in Psalm 40, another reminder of how God has done this very thing for me: put my feet upon a rock, and given me a firm place to stand.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
God bless you, friends. Stand upon the rock of God’s work.