When I left home for North Carolina on March 5, 2020, my husband told me the world might be different when I came back. I didn't believe him at the time but he turned out to be right.
The fear of COVID-19 sweeping the global hit the West Coast while I was away. Schools closed as did many business and entertainment outlets. By the time I was flying back from North Carolina on March 16th our last plane was almost empty and the Portland airport was deserted. A stay at home order was issued in Oregon one week later.
But this was not the worst part. The worst part was the fear that I watched descend on some of my loved ones and those I watch on social media. Fear of this unseen enemy and how it would upset their lives. Fear. It seemed to be a living thing more contagious than the virus.
I understand things are changing and people are dying but I want to tell you that Fear is not what the Father of Heaven is offering in the face of COVID-19. On the contrary, I believe He is offering Hope, Peace, Love and a unique opportunity for Him to provide in creative ways.
My purpose for visiting North Caroline in March was to paint during the Wesleyan Holiness Women's Clergy Conference. As I was worshiping before our first main session I received the picture I believed I was supposed to paint. It was a door in the heavens newly opened with steps leading up to it. Water and music poured out of the gateway, inviting everyone to climb into new blessings and opportunities, or perhaps new perspectives.
The next morning when my painting was far from finished we were informed we had to limit the number of people per room for the remainder of the conference. Over the next few days we engaged in meaningful worship and fellowship in ever shrinking environments. In the days and weeks following the conference I believe this painting has become more relevant.
The question becomes this; given these uncertain times will you ascend to the new things God has for you or will you descend into fear, trapped by a cruel task master?
I have heard stories on both sides. I've watched friends lose jobs, only to have God restore them several days later with a better position than before. I have heard of people experiencing stress and anxiety and people grieving the loss of loved ones. As for myself I can't remember a sweeter time spent with my husband as we prepare for the arrival of our first child.
I believe the steps to this open door involve our perspective and willingness to allow God's thoughts to craft how we interpret what is happening. His sweet melody is reverberating right now— chasing fear away. As our trust deepens in Him circumstances will fall into place or new paths will be made clear.
The best part is that this invitation will last far longer than any pandemic.
If you have not hear this song of peace maybe take a minute to stop and ask Him for it. I know His desire is to speak with you and comfort you. Things will turn out well even if loved ones are taken home or it becomes your season to pass away. Jesus has conquered Death so a pandemic no longer has the final word.
One last thought. While in North Carolina I had my own experience with intense fear. Once it had passed and I was processing it with God He gave me a valuable word. He told me, "You have the blood of Fear on your sword. Your sword does not forget the blood of your enemies." These words were a promise to me that I had won a victory despite how my body and emotions felt. My spirit will remember that victory the next time fear came knocking.
Your story can be the same.
I like to write as well as paint. Often times the story behind a piece brings more life to the work. - Jessica Broich