It was the only word uttered before the man turned and exited the small store he had just entered. The space was crowded. The check-out line was long. Customers buying in a panic. The store would be closing. The man struggled to accept what he was seeing. And he simply said in his out loud voice what other shoppers probably noted internally. Seriously? So many people scrambling because a store will be temporarily closed? Yes, for real. And yes, it is serious.
Times like these – which thankfully don’t happen very often – test us. The panic is infectious. And so is the urge to hunker down thinking only of self preservation. Caution is appropriate. These circumstances are to be taken seriously. We must accept that. But trust is also important to have on hand (even when hand sanitizer and toilet paper are scarce!). Trust leaders to lead wisely. Trust agencies to respond care-fully. And trust that the panic will subside and the pandemic will be curbed. But most importantly: trust that God has not abandoned us.
There is evidence. Neighbors are helping one another. Church members are reaching out to offer assistance. Concessions are being made. Meals are being distributed. Leniency is contemplated and hope has not evaporated. Emails and text messages keep us connected. Inspiring words are floating around the world. Communities are finding ways to sing, exercise, worship “together.” And some people are actually using their voices over the phone to check in with others.
Seriously? Yes, for real. Using voices to speak truth, to nurture peace, to offer love. And, speaking of using voices, let’s talk to God too! Praying not only for self preservation but also global protection. Praying desperately but confidently. And how about together? 10:00 every morning. More often as you feel led, yes, but at least at that hour. And together. And yes, seriously!